I have been immersed in the O&P world since I was born. I was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome and bilateral clubfeet. The amniotic band syndrome affected my right hand by deforming it and amputating my left index finger. I had my first surgery on my feet when I was 10 months old. From there I was either in casts trying to correct the position of my feet as I grew, wearing full leg braces, having custom orthotics and AFO braces made, and now prosthetic legs. I was in debilitating pain with my feet and ran out of surgical options even though I had the best surgeons. I knew I could have a better quality of life with prosthetics and I wasn’t letting anything get in my way to get to the life I wanted to lead. I am now a double below knee amputee, my right leg was amputated 5 years ago and my left was amputated 3 years ago and I haven’t looked back.
I graduated from Ohio University where I received an associate degree in applied science with a focus on equine and a bachelor’s degree in technical and applied studies
I have learned to be a passionate advocate from watching my mother be my advocate to get the best care for me as I grew up. It instilled in me a fire for advocacy and to help others who don’t know they have a choice in their medical care. I feel that everyone needs someone in their corner to help them make sure their voice is heard. With our collective voices we can help make positive change for people that wear prosthetics and orthotics. This passion for advocacy has led me to be a part of the inaugural class of Lead Advocates with the Amputee Coalition. I help represent the great state of Indiana. I help whenever I am called to action and educate our legislators on issues that face the O&P community.
In my free time I am a professional horse show judge. I love to meet new people and show them that just because I am a double below knee amputee I can still do the activities I love, even if standing and walking in a sandy arena all day is one of the most unforgiving for an amputee to walk in.
Thank you for this incredible opportunity to be one of the fellows for the health policy and advocacy fellowship this year. I am so very excited to be on this journey and learn as much as I can during my time in Washington D.C. I know this experience with help me be a stronger advocate and voice in the O&P field.