My name is Delaney Kerby, I am 20 years old, and I am your average Texas gal trying to survive college, with one exception; I only have one leg. I’m a Symes amputee, so I’m only missing my foot, but I just say leg so it makes more sense. I became an amputee when I was very young. I was born at 24 weeks with my two other brothers, and all three of us were very sick. My two brothers ended up passing away, and I was the lone survivor, but there was one problem. I wasn’t getting enough blood flow to my left leg, so as a result it turned black and blue. The doctors then asked my dad for permission to amputate, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been an amputee my whole life, and I don’t ever remember ever having two feet. Let me tell you, having a prosthetic leg never stopped me from doing anything. If anything, it helped motivate me to prove to people that I can and I will do whatever I set my mind to.
I started playing soccer when I was 3 years old, and I absolutely fell in love. I kept playing soccer until I graduated high school, but I added cheerleading in the mix too. I love to stay active; it’s who I am. It was hard to enjoy being active with such standard and simple prosthetics that didn’t help benefit my high activity level. I’ve had standard and simple prosthetics my whole life. From the one I learned how to take my first steps in to the one I walked around a huge college campus in. Simple is all I had ever known, and I didn’t think that I could fit into anything that would help benefit my needs, because my residual limb is so long. I’ve always wanted a running leg with a blade; not just because they are totally the coolest leg ever, but also because running had become less enjoyable and more painful. With my standard prosthetics, unfortunately, it was like running on a brick, but I still continued to stay active and push through the pain. This limited my ability to excel to my full potential – until I heard of Amputee Blade Runners and that I could apply for a grant to get a running leg.
I heard about ABR through the NubAbility camp I coached over the summer, and if you haven’t looked into Nub camp I would strongly encourage you to. I applied for ABR because I was tired of not knowing what it was truly like to really run and enjoy it. They told me that I could indeed receive a running leg to accommodate my needs, and that the length of my leg was no problem at all. Not only would I be receiving a running leg, but they would also make me a new walking leg. I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to receive my two new legs in March, during my 2017 Spring Break. I spent 9 days there and I absolutely loved Nashville, the ABR team, and Nick Gambill’s team of fabricators. Just from traveling to Nashville once, I know I would absolutely love to live there one day.
My experience with ABR was completely fantastic. Words can’t even describe how amazing it was. Everyone on the ABR team made me feel right at home, and it was honestly like I had known them for years, when I had actually just met them. I worked with Aaron Fitzsimmons who was my prosthetist, and I also worked with Nick Gambill and his team who fabricated my legs. The cool thing about ABR is they actually teach you the process, instead of keeping you in the dark. I’m so used to showing up to an appointment with the prosthetist telling me about the system I will be using. Only to come back in a couple of months with the prosthetic finished and you have no idea how they made it. Amputee Blade Runners did it differently. They let you know that they’re here to serve you and accommodate your needs, not just telling you what they think is the right system to use. Once you make decisions, they give you background and insight on why this process is good and how it will help you in the long run, so you can go share with other amputees.
My running and walking legs have completely changed my life. The walking leg gives me so much more bounce than my standard leg, and it makes walking around the second largest college campus in the U.S. so much easier and more enjoyable. My running leg has helped me tremendously. Before receiving a running leg I couldn’t even run one mile, and now the farthest I’ve ran is five miles! Both legs have completely changed my world, and provided me with more faith that I can now achieve not only my workout goals, but my life goals also. I think it’s very important for kids with limb differences to learn how to accept themselves and run with it. To know that they are here for a purpose, and I hope that they never doubt that. Amputee Blade Runners helps ignite that flame inside every amputee. It gives them so much power and determination that they can help change lives, and see themselves as so much bigger then someone with a disability. To ABR, being an amputee is not a disability, it’s a tool to help motivate others to set a goal, and do something about it.