The Lilly Biagini Story: Attitude Determines Altitude
While many six year olds are still deciding which letter comes next in the alphabet, Lilly Biagini was focused on something much more momentous: she made the decision to have bilateral transfemoral amputations.
Lilly, now a precocious, animated ten-year-old, was born with arthro-gryposis multiplex congenita, hip dislocation, scoliosis, kyphosis, and torticollis. To say that it was painful and nearly impossible for her to walk is an understatement.
"It [arthrogryposis multiplex congenita] is a huge, long ugly word that basically means lack of joints," says Lilly's mother, Jessica Biagini. "Lilly has always made her own decisions and she's very proud of that. It was one hundred percent her decision to have the amputations."
Before Lilly's amputations, when her mother wasn't carrying her, Lilly used a wheelchair. Lilly was six years old when she saw a television commercial showing a man walking with a prosthesis. Biagini says Lilly promptly announced to her, "‘Mom, I want to walk one day.'" Biagini remembers telling her daughter, "You're perfect the way you are. God made you that way."
One afternoon while at an appointment at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Sacramento, Biagini left Lilly alone in the exam room with her physicians. While Biagini was gone, Lilly says she told them, "I don't want any more surgeries." "Too bad, you're only six," she says one of them told her.
Lilly pressed on, explaining that she wanted to walk. When Biagini returned, she was informed by the doctors about the girl's desire to amputate her legs. "I asked her, ‘How are you going to walk?' And then this serious, studious little girl said with confidence to me, ‘I'm going to cut my legs off,'" Biagini says.
It took Lilly three months to convince her mother that she wanted to do the surgery. "She's a sassy girl who doesn't see herself as being disabled," Biagini says.
"I just got tired of always being in pain," remembers Lilly, who was born in Santa Rosa, California, and is now a third grader who enjoys snowboarding and swims "like a fish," her mother says. Lilly hopes to someday become a police officer.
Strength and Spirit
On February 13, 2014, Lilly underwent a nine-hour amputation surgery at Shriners. She received her first pair of prostheses three months later—lightweight carbon sockets with locking liners, Trulife Child's Play knees, and College Park Industries' Truper feet.
Lilly easily passed her initial test of walking between the parallel bars in her new prostheses, her mother says. "She held onto the bar once and then just walked out of there."
Come and see us at Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics for all your prosthetic needs. We’ve been providing expert prosthetic and orthotic services in Michigan since 1955 and have grown to more than 20 locations, including Traverse City, Alpena, Kalamazoo, Grayling and visit our new location in St. Joseph opening soon!