Terry was an 18-year-old first year Kinesiology student at Simon Fraser University and a member of the SFU junior varsity basketball team in 1977 when he was diagnosed with bone cancer that resulted in the amputation of his right leg six inches above the knee. After undergoing chemotherapy and seeing other people, particularly children, suffering with cancer, Terry decided that he wanted to make a difference in the world. He wanted to do something to help cure this dreadful disease.
Terry began his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. When he was forced by a recurrence of cancer to stop his cross-Canada run at Thunder Bay, Ontario, on September 1, 1980, he had completed a total of 5,373 km over 143 days, the equivalent of a marathon every day. After a courageous battle with cancer, he passed away in June 1981.
Few people are aware of the physical enormity of what Terry did in his Marathon of Hope run across Canada. He ran 26 miles per day, 7 days per week. Imagine how sore your legs would be if you walked 26 miles, day after day, on pavement. Smiles, day after day. Few people could stand up to such punishment. Then try to imagine how incredibly difficult and painful it would be to run 26 miles per day with an artificial limb. It is almost beyond comprehension.
It was a journey that Canadians will never forget. His courage, determination, humanitarianism, and selflessness have been an inspiration to millions of people.
See also: http://www.terryfox.org/TerryFox/Facts.html
Photo Source: https://www.google.ca/search?q=terry+fox&biw=1366&bih=624&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=UOOAVOuuH46tyAT-9IHoAg&sqi=2&ved=0CCkQsAQ#imgdii=_
What was initially a 335-km race to the South Pole between British, American and Commonwealth teams had a surprise ending. The fierce but fun competition was suspended due to dangerous conditions. The teams merged into one group for the last part of the trek.
Each of the soldiers on Prince Harry’s team had lost a limb in action, and one lost both legs in Afghanistan. Yet, each would haul a 75-kilogram sled. They had a serious goal: to raise money and awareness for “Walking with the Wounded”. This veterans’ charity helps retrain soldiers for life after the military.
Ed Parker, director of the expedition, told the press about the moment when the teams reached the South Pole: “It was very emotional. We took off our skis and hooked off our sledges and stood together before walking up to the Pole as one.”
Photo Source: http://walkingwiththewounded.org.uk/southpole2013/category/south-pole-2013/
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.
A 2009 Cambodian beauty pageant for disabled women was full of land mines from start to finish. Testing taboos, a Norwegian theater director wanted to draw attention to survivors in a war zone. Twenty women scarred by decades of war were to parade their amputated bodies for the chance at a new prosthetic limb. The organizer had the support of the government’s mine action agency.
Days before the debut of a photo exhibit, a lead-up to the live pageant, there was much indignation and all support collapsed. The cancelled pageant provoked controversy even in its aftermath.
Sophie de Oliveira Barata works out of a bright white, semi-disheveled northwest London studio surrounded by feet and fingers, legs leaning against walls and hands that look real enough to shake. With a background in art and special-effects makeup, she worked for eight years for a prosthetics manufacturer before deciding to become a creator of bespoke limbs. “It meant I could use my creative skills and do something massively rewarding,” she said, dropping an oddly appealing man’s foot in my lap. “Making an alternative limb is like entering a child’s imagination and playing with their alter ego,” she said. “You’re trying to find the essence of the person.”
In 2011, Sophie de Oliveira Barata started the Alternative Limb Project and soon found interested clients. She created one leg with a stereo embedded in it, another with removable muscles and a third, among others, that housed minidrawers. Recently she began collaborating with artists skilled in animatronics, 3-D printing, metalwork and carbon fiber.
“After losing a limb, a person isn’t the same,” de Oliveira Barata said. “So this is a form of expression, an empowerment, a celebration. It’s their choice of how to complete their body — whether that means having a realistic match or something from an unexplored imagination.”
Photo: Ryan Seary – formerly an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, US military
Toronto’s Sunnybrook Centre for Independent Living (SCIL) has a 25-member team of prosthetists, technicians and other experts. SCIL helps complex trauma patients regain independence and mobility with customized prostheses and individualized rehabilitation.
Prostheses are made in the on-site lab. The first step in creating a new limb is to make a socket in the stump or residuum. The artificial body part attaches inside the socket. The prosthetist takes detailed measurements of the residuum and then creates a cast of it – similar to that for a broken limb. When that cast dries, plaster is poured into it to make a form of the limb. The form is then carefully smoothed down and filed until it becomes an exact replica of the residuum. The amputee is fitted with a test socket and a limb and learns to walk with this set before the definitive socket and limb are finalized.
Technician Paul Russell says there is “a bit of an artistic feel and flow,” as some amputees need their sockets to be very strong and others want them to be light. “You’re trying to walk the line between something that’s strong enough and something that is not too heavy.”
Patients often develop a strong, lifelong bond with their prosthetist. The more the experts get to know the amputees, the better they are able to create sockets that work for their lifestyle. Getting the artificial limb for the first time can be a life-changing experience.
Dr. Jacquelin Perry was a physician and researcher who shed light on the complexities of walking. She was a leader in treating polio victims in the 1950s and again in the ’80s when the symptoms of some returned, Dr. Perry died at age 94 on March 11, 2013 in Downey, California. Her death was announced by the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, where she worked for more than 60 years.
Dr. Perry earned wide attention for her work in analyzing the human gait, which she broke down into eight motion patterns governed by 28 major muscles in each leg. Her 1992 book, “Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function,” became a standard text for orthopedists, physical therapists and other rehabilitation professionals.
Her clinical observations and descriptions of “loading response” were clear and had implications for many biomechanists. To break walking, running, stair-climbing and other human ambulations into discrete components, illustrated with precise photographs, Dr. Perry used ultrasound studies, motion analysis and electromyography, which traces the nerve pathways through muscle using electric charges.
Dr. Perry was an active surgeon until a brain artery blockage forced her to stop operating. She then devoted much of her time to studying the biomechanics of walking. As part of her research, she investigated how muscles and joints behave when spinal-cord injury patients propel themselves in wheelchairs, and how below-the-knee amputees are able to walk with prosthetic feet.
Spencer West redefines height – in his spirit, in the way he lives, and in the actions he takes to affect other people’s lives.
Now two-foot-seven, Spencer was born with a spinal defect and legs that didn’t function. He was five when his doctors felt they had no choice but to amputate them. They said he wouldn’t be able to sit up or move around by himself. Spencer defied that prediction by learning to use his arms to move. Prosthetics weren’t for him.
While most people would be hard pressed to use their feet to walk the 300-kilometre distance from Edmonton to Calgary, Spencer West recently made the journey almost entirely on his hands. His purpose was to raise funds and awareness for Me to We /Free The Children’s ‘We Walk 4 Water’ campaign. The donations will provide a permanent source of clean water for 100,000 people around the world.
Spencer West is a favorite motivational speaker at Me to We events. Stories of his feats inspire audiences of school children across Canada. For example, he climbed the 19,341 foot-high Mount Kilimanjaro, raising more than half a million dollars in a similar Me To We campaign. He urges others to go beyond their perceived limitations and to give of themselves.
Check out Spencer’s best-selling autobiography “Standing Tall: My Journey”. Also, his experiences feature in the documentary “Redefine Possible: The Story of Spencer West” that was shown at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
But here is the next best way to learn more: TOMORROW, JUNE 17, 2014
There will be a LIVE-STREAMING of SPENCER WEST SPEAKING from 10am to 11:30 am EST at: www.freethechildren.com/watch
From: New York Times Magazine, February 17, 2013
“All Quiet on the Washington Front”. An interview with Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth by Andrew Goldman. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/magazine/tammy-duckworth.html?_r=0
Tammy Duckworth, a strong woman of small stature, flew a Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq in 2004. It was shot down. Unassailable in her mission to serve Americans, she flies a desk in Washington these days.
Ordinary feet are not perfect. When they inevitably deteriorate, they have our full attention. In our day to day lives, we may notice other weak, broken or marked feet. But we often look away. It is a shame; even in a glance we could still glean some truth.
Marked feet have metaphorical significance. They point to a spiritual truth, modeling God’s original purposes for our feet:
- A dependent walk
- A definitive gait
- A message of redemption with every step
There is always a back story on marked feet. The theme is usually about overcoming the odds: Clubfeet are a congenital deformity. Badly fitting shoes cause hammer toes. A diving accident paralyzes the diver. Polio weakens a child’s muscles, necessitating crutches for life. An industrial accident leaves the worker with a limp. An IED (improvised explosive device) hits a soldier on foot patrol. Amputation and prosthetics are just the beginning of a rehabilitated walk.
It behooves us to learn the narrative of any marked foot.
© 2013 Teresa Sandhu. All rights reserved.