As a child, Christina Stephens filled her parents’ basement with Lego castles and pirate ships. When she put her Lego-building skills to work last month making a prosthetic leg out of the children’s toy, she became an Internet sensation.
Stephens, 31, lost her left foot in an accident this winter and decided to combine her clinical expertise as an occupational therapist with her own experience of losing a limb to help others dealing with amputations. Stephens began a series of YouTube videos and a Facebook page under the name “AmputeeOT,” in which she addresses issues that many new amputees struggle with. Among them are how to swim with and without a prosthetic, deal with phantom limb pain, and clean an amputation site and prosthetic liner.
But it was her construction of a prosthetic leg out of hundreds of Lego pieces that made her an Internet star. The YouTube video has more than 1.3 million views since it was posted in early July. Stephens plans more videos, and she has a second Lego leg — “Lego Leg 2.0,” she called it. This one has moveable pieces — but it’s still for show only.
“Part of what I want to do with my videos is de-stigmatize amputation and make it less scary,” Stephens said.