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

Dave Klar, AK Amputee: Exploring and Conquering New Heights

When Dave Klar lost his leg above the knee in August 2014, he feared that he had lost everything. Dave was working as an apprentice electrician at the time of the accident, and was unable to return to the job. He was also passionate about the outdoors, and heavily involved in BMX biking. The thought of losing the ability to participate in the things he loved was stevedavedevastating. Depressed, broke and scared, he searched the internet for support and guidance. That’s where he found Steve Chamberland, founder and president of 50legs.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping amputees in need. Dave reached out to Steve and within a matter of weeks, arrangements were made to bring him from Ohio to POA in Orlando to be fit with a prosthetic leg that would allow him to get back to his active life.

Once he was back up on two legs, things changed quickly for Dave. He had hope again. He dedicated his time and energy to rehab and giving back to the 50Legs organization that he felt had given him his life back. Dave went on camping trips with his dog, pushing himself to the limits.

During Dave’s next trip to POA, Ronnie Dickson, CP, a world-class above knee amputee climber, introduced him to climbing. He really connected with the sport, and soon was exploring the outdoors again, looking for new challenges. During this time he saw a post on 50Legs facebook page that was of interest to him. It was about daveiceJeff Bryan, a below-knee amputee fireman and avid climber who lives in Colorado. Jeff had contacted 50Legs for help in finding a source to make him a better fitting prosthesis, and they flew him out to POA. Jeff, a big time outdoor sportsman, returned home with a leg to wear for duty at the fire department and another for pursuing his sports interests, one of which happens to be ice climbing. Dave was intrigued by the photos Jeff posted on the 50legs page, and expressed an interest in trying it. The two of them started communicating and soon Dave was on his way to Colorado where Jeff showed him the ropes. That opened up a whole new world to Dave.

daveklartree Last weekend, Dave met Ronnie in Tennessee and learned to do some bouldering (see video below). Strong and confident, Dave has come full circle since the accident that took his leg over two years ago. Although he still struggles in many aspects of his life, in many ways he is stronger and much more appreciative of all its possibilities.

In a recent Facebook post, Dave reflected on his life over the past few years: “As 2 years pass after my traumatic amputation from a #motorcycle accident that was no fault of my own, I think about what I may want. After riding to Yellowstone national park on my motorcycle back in 2010 I thought man I gotta get off the road and hike! So I started doing just that. Hiking as an amputee to me is pretty difficult but it’s doable. It’s nice to have people who support me that walk in the same shoe as me so to speak haha. When you fall you get up and do it again!” #noboundaries

Conner, One Week Later – Walking Unassisted!

Conner, born with a condition that affected the development of his legs and hips (PFFD), had never been able to walk successfully on prosthetic legs. He stayed active by playing wheelchair tennis and used short prosthetic sockets attached directly to the feet (called “stubbies”) to get around. One of our POA clients, a physician who has played wheelchair tennis with Conner, told him about our experience and success with many PFFD amputees using new technology – and now he is one of them!
Exactly one week after taking his first steps ever on full prosthetic legs, Conner returned home walking tall!

POA Client Jim Ramage, AK/BK Amputee

Long-time POA client Jim Ramage and his lovely wife, Deb, pose for a photo with Roger before returning home to Pennsylvania after a week at POA. A bilateral (AK/BK) amputee, Jim does the type of difficult manual labor that most able-bodied men couldn’t do – heavy equipment repair and welding. To do this job as an amputee, Jim says he simply requires two things – the right attitude and the right prostheses.

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Celeste Corcoran – Stronger Than Ever!

Because of all the great Pilates work Celeste has been doing, the muscles in her legs have strengthened and developed. We made new prosthetic legs which allow her to fire and use those muscles, and Celeste headed back to Boston on Wednesday walking faster, stronger, and with even more confidence! ‪#‎NoBoundaries‬ ‪#‎CorcoranStrong‬

POA and 50Legs.org Kids Rock! – #NoBoundaries

We had a great time with Jack and his family last week! It was especially fun when Steve Chamberland brought some of his other 50legs.org kiddos up to meet them. Another bonus was that William, who is about Jack’s age, was scheduled for an appt. that day, too. Party at POA! Happy Tuesday, everyone!

POA Client Valerie – Active Senior Citizen and Above Knee Amputee #NoBoundaries

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POA client Valerie Petta’s leg was amputated above the knee after a diagnosis of cancer just after she and her husband retired to Florida. Did she give up? Did she stop doing all the things she loved? No way! This lady is living her life to fullest! ‪#‎NoBoundaries‬ ‪#‎NoExcuses‬

Zayden Takes His First Steps since losing his leg in Lawn Mower accident

POA and 50Legs.org friends and family joined together to cheer on little Zayden as he took his first steps on his finished prosthesis. He was so happy to see his new “toes,” and proud of his Thomas the Train prosthetic leg! This 3-year-old dynamo is going to be up and running in no time!