Rosie, an energetic 8 year old hip disarticulate since birth, was thrilled with her new walking and running legs. “I love them so much,” she exclaimed. “Now i can walk down my driveway easy, and I can switch to my running leg so easy. I don’t want to ever stop running!”
We are also making an arm and attachment she can use to play on her adaptive hockey team. No boundaries for this little girl!
Shaylyn, who was born with a bone deformity which led to the amputation of her leg two years ago, recently ran for the first time IN HER LIFE – and she took off like she’d been doing it forever! Afterward, she burst into happy tears, and the rest of us (some won’t admit it) joined her. What an amazing, emotional experience! Shaylyn returned home to Ohio with her mom, and the first thing she did was race her 9 year old sister. 🙂 Then she wrote a letter of thanks and appreciation to all the people who supported her, detailing her visit to POA:
One week in Florida started with our first visit to POA on a Sunday. I was casted and fitted. It was then I found out I’d be receiving two legs – an everyday leg as well as my running leg. This was an unexpected surprise.
Day 2 was once again casted for my new liners and tried out my test socket. My previous leg was a pin lock system and now would be in a suction socket. I was told I was going from a rusted, beat up car to a Tesla!
Day 3 I walked for the first time in my new test socket for everyday leg and took it with me to try out for the day. The difference was amazing, both in weight and comfort.
Day 4 was a short day because the blade for my running leg was too tall and they had to order me a new one.
Day 5 I got my walking everyday leg and my test socket for my running blade. I felt like a kid at Christmas who couldn’t wait to open that special present. I just wanted to run.
Day 6 was my final day with this amazing crew. I ran for the first time in my life. I cried tears of happiness. All the crew were so happy for me and couldn’t believe I had never ran before. It was so natural. This week was amazing. They took a process that takes normally three weeks and made not one, but two legs! I want to send a special thanks to 50legs.org for making this possible as well.”
Shaylynn’s mom added the following note to POA – “Thanks is not enough. You and 50 Legs have changed and enriched Shaylynn’s life. You made Florida feel like home.”
The combination of an Endolite USA Orion MP knee and TaiLor Made Prosthetics feet enables Celeste to walk with a smooth, stable and comfortable gait – even while wearing boots! #prosthetic #legs #feet #Endolite #Orion #tailormade #foot #amputeefashion
Jaelyn’s prosthetic journey has begun, and it was so awesome that she had the encouragement and support of the new friends/peers she met at POA throughout the week! Born with a rare bone disorder, Jaelyn has spent most of her life undergoing procedures to improve the function of her leg, including limbing lengthening. With a prosthetic leg, Jaelyn was able to walk without a walker for the first time in her life, and once surgery is completed on her other knee, she hopes to run! Thanks to Maria, Harriet, Jack, Jan, Celeste and everyone who encouraged and inspired Jaelyn and her mom during the week! #poafamily #proud #dreamcometrue #amputeelife #onherway
Radley “Rad” Gillis and his friends/family had been praying about this moment ever since his near-fatal motorcycle accident six months ago. As he stood for the first time, Stan told him to take it easy and not be discouraged if he could only take a few steps. His family, standing close by, said “if anyone can do it, it’s Rad.” So what did Rad, a natural athlete who also excels at wrestling, do? He walked back and forth in the parallel bars with the biggest smile on his face; answered prayers for his family and friends, and a blessing for all of us!
This is the story of a true warrior! Dana had been a runner all her life, until a series of events beginning in 2002 led to the amputation of her leg through the hip joint in 2014. Surgery for a stress fracture was unsuccessful and was followed by a knee replacement in 2006. Still in pain and fighting recurrent infections, Dana underwent a second knee replacement a year after that, but that didn’t stop the decline in her health as the infection continued to rage. In 2007, Dana’s leg was amputated above the knee and for the next 7 years she sustained repeated revisions of the limb as they chased the infection, eventually leading the the amputation of her leg at the hip in 2014. She was fit with her first Hip Disarticulate socket, but later that year Dana fell and broke her pelvis. Still determined to walk, she resumed wearing her prosthesis, but then suffered a broken rib from the socket! Despite the discomfort, Dana continued to wear the prosthesis for short periods of time – she was not willing to give up on her wish to walk again, but spent most of her time on crutches. We met Dana earlier this year when she expressed an interest in our patented hip disarticulate system. Within a week she was walking confidently inside the parallel bars, and the next week she was walking outside the bars with a cane as she learned how to walk up/down stairs and ramps. She’s now home in St. Louis and reports that she is back to doing many things she has not been able to do for years! #warrior #fighter #strong #independence #noboundaries
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!
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 devastating. 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 Jeff 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.
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, 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!