Charlie Learns to Walk on Two Prosthetic Legs – with a Little Help from his Friends

Four-year-old Charlie – recently adopted from China and missing both legs above the knee since birth – arrived at POA last month, eager to be fit with his very first set of prosthetic legs. While his check sockets were being fabricated, we introduced him to his new prosthetic “parts.” Charlie was fascinated with the feet and knees, and couldn’t wait to go to the store to pick out some shoes! “Mine,” he declared, as he held a small prosthetic foot to his cheek.

We asked Bella and her family if she could stop by and give Charlie a few pointers. Bella, age 7, was also born in China missing her legs above the knee. Ever since we fit Bella with her first legs when she was 3 years old, she has been unstoppable – running, jumping, playing tag with her siblings – you name it! When she learned that Charlie was also a bilateral congenital amputee, Bella couldn’t wait to meet him! She had never met another child with the same level of amputations before.

As Bella walked into the room, Charlie’s eyes got bigger. He motioned for her to sit down and looked at her legs, her feet, and her “little” hand. “Like me,” he exclaimed, and gave Bella a great big hug. The two quickly formed a close bond. Bella was there for Charlie’s first steps, helped him learn to get up on a chair, and from sitting on the floor to standing. “Bend and lock,” Bella instructed Charlie as he learned to walk in the parallel walks. “Bend Lock,” Charlie repeated.

By the end of the day, Charlie was well on his way to walking independently. That was when he made another connection. Regas Woods, a paralympic athlete who was also born missing both legs above the knee, was across the room discussing some adjustments he wanted to make on his running legs. Regas was wearing long pants so Charlie didn’t know he was an amputee. We invited him over to meet Charlie and said “look, he has two feet and two knees like you!” Charlie excitedly pulled up Regas’ pant legs and hugged him tight. Then he asked if we could take their photo. Charlie was beaming from ear to ear as he posed with his super hero. For the first time in his life he met two people “just like him,” and you could see the incredible instant connection they had. What an amazing day at POA. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful and caring clients who truly make a difference in the lives of others.

Charlie returned home to practice his walking, and his mom reports he is now beginning to walk independently. We have no doubt he’ll be back very soon to be fit with running legs, and Bella promises to be right there to show him how it’s done!
#NoBoundaries #POAkids

Amputee Sisters, Gracelyn and Addilyn, Taking Off On Their Prosthetic Legs!  #POAproud

What a joy it was to meet Gracelyn, Addilyn and their wonderful family! It was an extra special treat to watch Addilyn, 2, take her very first steps, and then see Gracelyn take off on her new running foot!  #whywelovetocometoworkeveryday

Welcome to the POA family, Gracelyn and Addilyn!

 

This week we have had the pleasure of meeting Gracelyn (4) and Addilyn (2), both congenital BK’s adopted from China. Big sister Gracelyn has been in the U.S. for two years and this will be her second prosthesis, so she is guiding little sister Addilyn, who arrived just two months ago, through the process. When Addilyn took her first few steps, Gracelyn jumped up and down exclaiming, “she’s walking!….I can’t believe it!” Precious moments. Thanks to MeiMei and mom Kelley for introducing us to this wonderful family!

      1sisterssisters2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POA Patient Spotlight – Hanna O’Brien

hanna4

16-year-old Hanna O’Brien is a confident, caring and intensely spiritual young lady. People of all ages and backgrounds are drawn to her sweet nature and nurturing personality.

Born with congenital limb difference, Hanna’s left leg extends just 3 inches below the knee-cap. Her right hand has only a thumb and her left hand has nubs where her index and middle fingers would be. Her parents believed from the beginning that Hanna was perfect just the way she was born, and destined to do great things.

As she grew a little older, Hanna began to notice that her leg was different than other kids’. One day, at a skating party, Hanna’s prosthetic leg fell off and she put it back on. On the way home from the party she asked her parents, “Are there other kids like me doing that, or am I the only one?” That’s when her family decided to seek out other amputees for Hanna to meet. When she was 10 years old they enrolled her in the Amputee Coalition of America’s (ACA) Children’s Camp and attended the ACA annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia. It was at the ACA convention that we met Hanna and her family.

Hanna’s mother, Dee, shared that Hanna’s prosthetic limb was not comfortable, and it was preventing her from enjoying many of the sports she loved. Stan promised that if they would make the trip to Orlando (from their home in North Carolina) he would fit Hanna with a new prosthesis that would allow her to do all the things she enjoyed in comfort.

Since then, Hanna has not stopped moving! At home in North Carolina she plays on her high school soccer team, golfs, rides four-wheelers and a motocross cycle. She also enjoys fishing. When Hanna is in Orlando having her prosthesis adjusted or replaced, she and her family spend a lot of time at the beach and enjoying the nearby theme parks. Hanna does anything and everything she wants, and enjoys sharing her story and explaining how her prosthesis works to new amputees.

Not only does Hanna now know that she’s “not the only one with a prosthesis,” she has made many new friends and has helped countless others.  During the 2013 ACA conference in Orlando, Hanna encouraged a new amputee who was terrified of swimming to give it a try, and stayed by her side until she became comfortable in the water.

Hanna has blossomed into a very compassionate and confident young lady, and we are blessed to have her and all the O’Brien’s in our POA family.  One day Hanna plans to become a prosthetist and work with and inspire other amputees to achieve their goals.  We are #POAProud of you, Hanna O’Brien!

hannaellie1