I was born missing my left leg and received my first prosthesis when I was 10 months old. From that time until I was about 4 years old, I had an above the knee prosthetic with no knee, so I learned to walk with just a straight leg. I finally received a prosthesis with a knee, and was able to play softball for 6 years. I loved being active. My parents had taught me that I could do whatever I put my mind to, and that I was like any other child. As the years went on, the more active I got, I realized how much my prosthesis was holding me back. I continued to play softball, participate in cheerleading and dancing, but looking back, I did not have the appropriate equipment that would allow me to get full mobility and use out of my prosthesis.
When I first met Aaron Fitzsimmons, one of the founders of ABR, I was 16 years old. At the time, I was an above the knee amputee and dealing with extreme pain in my other leg due being born with fibular hemimelia on my right side. The first day I met him, he saw potential in me and gave me such confidence and hope in my abilities. I first received my running prosthetic with ABR in January 2013. Running properly for the first time was such a free and natural feeling. I could hop, run, skip with ease: all of these things that I never thought I would be able to do, after 16 years of being in a leg that was holding me back.
I began training and running in 5ks with my new prosthesis. As I became more active, the pain in my right leg got worse, I was searching for options to improve my quality of life. This is when the “ABR Family” really surrounded me with encouragement and support. After years of dealing with surgeries, braces, injections, and chronic pain in my right foot and ankle, and after consulting with my family and many of the ABR members, I made the decision to have my right foot amputated.
I had my surgery August 7, 2013, started walking again on October 8th, and by November, I was on the track running as a double amputee: all thanks to Amputee Blade Runners. Since then, I have competed in the 2014 Endeavor Games in Track and Field, Swimming, and Sitting Volleyball. Currently, I am working towards building stamina and endurance to be able to complete long distance running. My goal is to run in a half marathon. I am a senior at Auburn University studying Rehabilitation and Disability Studies with hopes of going to Occupational Therapy school.
The reason that I applied for a running prosthetic through ABR is because they believed in me. They saw something in me that I could not see myself, and they gave me the tools and equipment to show me what all I could do. They have taught me that the possibilities are endless and that limb loss = life gained!!! And along the way, they have become like family to me.
I have received such an improved quality of life with the prosthetics that they provide for me. Anything from walking around campus, to better grip while sprinting, they are there for me in whatever challenge I might face in life. The passion and heart that ABR has for people is unlike anything I have ever encountered. They inspire me to be positive, loving, and determined in all of my endeavors. They go beyond their calling to provide us with the best service available. I am so incredibly thankful for this truly life-changing organization.