Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became an amputee.
As the special education coordinator at a Philadelphia charter school, I love living and working in the city. I became an amputee in November 2010, when I was hit by a garbage truck while riding my bike to work. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. The Trauma Team at Jefferson Hospital saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.
How has being an amputee changed your life?
I’m a very new amputee, but my life is already completely different. The biggest changes have been to my daily routine and to the independence I used to take for granted. Right now, I am still absorbedby physical therapy and learning to use my new prsothesis. I have moved back to my three-story rowhouse and I've returned to work part-time. In other ways, becoming an amputee has opened me up to new information and possibilities. I’ve gotten to know many amazing people I’d have never met otherwise. I’m sure this whole experience will have a huge impact on my future and take my life in a new direction; I’m still watching it unfold.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in helping you achieve success?
My biggest inspiration? There are too many people to name. My family has been by my side every day since the accident. They continue to help me with the tasks that used to come so easily, and their love and dedication brightens even my toughest days. My friends have also inspired me with their support. One friend even ran the 10-mile Broad Street Run in my honor! During the months I spent in the hospital, my doctors and nurses cheered me on with every small victory. They even gave me a standing ovation (in the hallway) when I was discharged! My inspiration was taken to a whole new level when I found the team at Prosthetic Innovations. I could never have done “Walk for the Wounded,” after only two months on my prosthesis, without Tim and the rest of Team Prolimb behind me! And finally, every time I meet other amputees and hear their stories, I am flooded with both inspiration and admiration.
What advice would you give to others who are new to the amputee community?
I’m new to the amputee community myself, but from my experiences so far, I’d say the most important quality to hang onto, even when things are most difficult, is patience. When you’re discouraged, listen to those who inspire you and believe in you, and then believe them! Whether they’re from a therapist, family member or friend, hopeful words from someone you respect and trust can make all the difference.
List some of your hobbies.
Before my amputation, I enjoyed inline skating and biking, and I hope to be able to return to both in the future. I love traveling, especially doing home exchanges with families from other countries. I like reading, writing, and photography. During the summer, I've volunteered as camp counselor for children with disabilities. As an amputee learning to use a prosthesis, my biggest project right now is walking one thousand miles! You can follow my journey at www.my-1000-miles.blogspot.com.