About their Stories
Three thousand individuals this week will become an amputee (almost 18 per hour). Many of these people will be unable to access prosthetic care. In fact, some will not even be able to afford a $20.00 stump sock. Because our reputation and services are nationally recognized, many will turn to Limbs for Life for help. We are often their first, and sometimes, their last hope. With adequate funding, we are able to help transform lives from a state of depression and isolation to one of confidence and productivity. Please take a moment to read the stories of our recipients below, whose lives have changed because of Limbs for Life.
Limbs for Life also does work outside the United States thanks in large part to the donation of used prosthetic limbs to the foundation. Find out more about how these donations benefit those outside the U.S. by reading about our Dominican Outreach Program.
Right above-knee amputee
Connor Karow was first introduced to the Limbs for Life family at 2004′s Limb Round-Up. A “Help Connor Walk” campaign at that benefit raised over $18,000. Connor was two at the time and since has received three prosthetic limbs thanks to Limbs for Life.
Right Leg Amputee
Chase Thompson, who lives in Waggoner, Oklahoma, is like any other nine year old. He loves to play sports and just be an energetic fun loving kid. On July 21, 2006, his mother made the difficult decision to have his right leg amputated below the knee due to a condition he was born with called, fibular hemimelia. Jan Thompson, his mother, is a single mom of three beautiful children and needed assistance like so many other families do. She turned to Limbs for Life Foundation and now Chase runs and plays displaying that nothing will stop him!
Fibular hemimelia – “the congenital absence of the fibula and it is the most common congenital absence of long bone of the extremities.”It is the shortening of the fibula at birth, or the complete lack thereof. Amputation from fibular hemimelia usually takes place at 6-months with removal of portions of the legs to retro fit them for prosthetic use.
Right leg below-knee amputee
At the age of eleven, Angela Risley’s life changed dramatically. An everyday ride to the store with her sister ended in tragedy in 1996 when a drunk driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into Angela on her bicycle. As a result, she lost her right leg from the knee down.
Left leg below-knee amputee
Casey Fitzpatrick found out he had a flesh-eating virus in his left leg nine days after he was married in 1993. Thirteen years and numerous infections and trips to the hospital later, he had to have the leg amputated below the knee in April 2006.
Left above-knee amputee
Vernette Eli lost her left leg in a motorcycle accident in 1981, just before her 18th birthday. Despite losing her leg, she was able to get around on prosthesis, work and spend time with her horses in her hometown of Hillman, Minn.
Stephen went through only two prosthetic legs over the next 34 years. In 2008, he was unable to replace his worn-out leg because he didn’t have insurance. With nowhere else to turn, Stephen applied for help through the Limbs for Life Foundation. He needed a new leg to continue his job at a local grocery store so he could continue to support himself and his family.
A few months later he received a new prosthetic limb thanks to Limbs for Life and Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research, which donated their billable hours to help Stephen.
“I didn’t think I was going to get any help because I’ve never had any,” he said. “But Limbs for Life has helped me so much. Without them I wouldn’t know what to do.”
Left above-knee amputee
Reece Nelson spent five years adapting to life with only one leg. Now, thanks to his new prosthetic limb from the Limbs for Life Foundation, his days of adapting are over.
Nelson was born missing his left leg above the knee. At first he was able to walk on a prosthetic limb, but it quickly wore out after insurance wouldn’t pay for a new one. Unable to afford a leg that can cost over $15,000. Without prosthesis, he was forced to get around on crutches.
“I’ve been using crutches most of my life and it became more comfortable for me,” Nelson said. “I was pretty good with them, but it limited me in what I could do. I had to constantly adjust.”
The 22-year old Nelson learned about Limbs for Life from his prosthetist, Shelly Hope, at Horizon Orthotics and Prosthetics Experience in Overland Park, Kan. He applied for assistance from the foundation and received a new prosthetic limb in December 2009 thanks to funding from Limbs for Life and the billable hours donated by Hope.
Now, Nelson is able to better enjoy the things he loves most because his hands are free from having to operate crutches. He is also able to perform his job with a Conoco gas station in his hometown of Overland Park.
In his spare time, Nelson studies researches medieval combat and weaponry and performs at renaissance festivals around the region. He said being on one leg severely limited his ability to participate, but he is able to have more fun now that he has a prosthetic leg.
He said he wants to be a musician and plays bass in his band, Klehma.