A little over a year ago I had to make the hardest decision of my life. The surgeon gave me less than twenty-four hours to decide if I was going to try to save my leg or have it amputated. Ultimately, I decided to have my leg amputated because the surgeon said that I would have a better chance of a normal life with a prosthetic. After the decision was made to amputate my leg, I found it hard to believe that I had made the right choice. I felt that I could accomplish some activities of daily living, but in no way was satisfied with where I was at. I wanted to push so much further, but I didn’t have the equipment to help me get to that next level.
That is where all of you at Amputee Blade Runners came into the picture. Fortunately, my over-ambitious sister found you through the ABR website, and I was fortunate to be chosen for a running prosthetic. I can’t thank you enough for how quickly you guys got me down to Nashville and how willing you were to work with me. I honestly learned more in my first day with you than I had learned in almost an entire year of being an amputee. The running prosthesis has opened so many doors that I felt were permanently closed for me. I have been able to run and play basketball again, which is what I lived for all through high school and college. It was certainly the things that I missed the most since my accident.
On August 12th of this year, something else became far more important to me than the activities I loved so much. My daughter, Brielle Jane Kolinsky, was born on that date and I couldn’t feel luckier to be a dad. I started thinking of even the smallest things that I wouldn’t have been able to do without this running prosthesis. Thanks to ABR, I can now do so much more with her as she gets older – things that I would have never been able to experience without your generosity. Keeping up with her as she grows shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
Though I could talk about all of the amazing opportunities that this running prosthesis has given me physically, I felt I took something even more important away from my trip to Nashville. The amount of passion and dedication that everyone at ABR demonstrated while I was there blew me away. For someone that was already excited to get a running prosthetic, I would’ve been happy with anything, but you guys exceeded my expectations tenfold. You were so thorough and more than willing to take time out of your busy schedule. You wanted to make sure that I was knowledgeable and comfortable with every part of the prosthetic. This part of my experience with ABR made the greatest impact on me. I kept asking myself, “Why do these guys care so much about a random person from Michigan?” I believe it is because you all are truly special people. The entire experience has made a powerful impact on my life, and I am not the only one you made an impression on. It resonated with all of my family and friends that were fortunate enough to meet you when I was there. It made all of us examine the people that we are and encouraged us to take a closer look at what more we could do to help our fellow man. I sincerely want to thank all of you at ABR for giving us such an amazing experience.