Amputees Living Big

Amputees Living Big

Adjusting to life with a prosthetic limb can be challenging, but advances in technology for artificial limbs are getting young amputees back in the game, competing in triathlons and on the dance floor.

These inspiring stories have two things in common: osteosarcoma, a rare form of childhood bone cancer, and prosthetics that allow amputees continue to do cool (and inspiring!) things.

Before Ohio teen, Andrew McCaffrey, lost his leg to cancer at the age of 10, he played football, basketball, and soccer. His cancer treatment included three surgeries – ultimately the amputation of his right leg – and adjusting to life with an artificial limb.

Now at age 16, he’s off the sidelines and happily back into sports at Western Reserve Academy. This fall he’s a wide receiver for his school team, the Pioneers.

While McCaffrey says in this news article that learning to run with a prosthetic leg “wasn’t pretty,” he’s looking to play and score.

Another young cancer survivor and amputee, Ben Baltz of Florida, is inspiring people around the world after images of the teen running a triathlon with his prosthetic leg went viral.

Baltz was only six when he lost his leg to cancer. Now at 14, he trains with his father and is speaking out to stop changes to Medicare coverage that would prevent other amputees from getting high-tech prosthetics like his.

As he says, his amputation hasn’t stopped him or prevented him from actively running, biking, swimming, and surfing. Not to mention inspiring so many!

Canadian First Nations folksinger, Christa Couture shared in a recent radio segment that advances in prosthetic technology have taken her from wallflower to dancing queen.

She said that when she lost her leg above the knee to cancer at 13 years of age, she hated her prosthesis – how it looked and how she looked in it. She purposely left her artificial leg at home on the day of a junior high school prom because she thought no one would ask a girl on crutches to dance. When a boy named Nathan asked her to dance, she declined and then regretted that decision for years.  “Nathan looked at me and saw someone who could dance, and I didn’t.”

Now in her thirties, Couture’s friends, fans, and loved ones have rallied and held a fundraiser to get her a brand new microprocessor knee; and the high-tech prosthesis has changed everything. 

You can listen to Christa Couture share her moving story on Definitely Not the Opera about how she doesn’t just have dancing shoes (and Fluevogs!), but a dancing leg.

Michigan’s Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics has offered expert prosthetic services for decades. The more than 20 locations in Michigan including Traverse City, Petoskey, and Grand Rapids all accept a wide variety of health insurance plans and have the flexibility to work out extended payment programs.

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