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  • Writer's pictureTravis Crabbe

Don, Bilateral (BK and AK)

Don, A Bilateral Amputee, climbs a large plastic rock wall while wearing both of his prosthetic legs. He is already quite high up, but you can tell he is determined to make it to the top.
Don, A Bilateral Amputee, Climbing a Rock Wall

When we met Don he was a man on a mission. Don, a bilateral amputee, was wounded while on his tour of duty in Vietnam when he stepped on a landmine and lost both his legs, one above the knee and the other below. A series of surgeries and skin grafts left him with a lot of scar tissue and residual limb pain.

After months of rehabilitation Don learned to walk on prostheses but the nature of his amputations made getting a good fit almost impossible. Standing and walking were very painful activities for him and would quickly cause his skin to tear, forcing him to return to his wheelchair. Fortunately, Don’s great spirit remained intact as he became an avid wheelchair sports competitor and met and married the love of his life, Scheryl.

One day Scheryl was discussing Don’s prosthetic history with a friend of hers who suggested he try the new technology at Southern California Prosthetics. Don and Scheryl, who had learned to accept Don’s reliance on a wheelchair for mobility, were wary of getting their hopes up about prostheses, but they decided to try anyway.

Here is a video of his progress as he learns to walk:

The moment Don put on his new legs for the first time erased any doubt about what he would accomplish with them. His determination and enthusiasm are infectious to all the people he meets, and those traits have allowed him to walk pain free for the first time in more then forty years. Wearing the legs daily and exercising with them has increased Don’s strength and endurance while he works towards his next goal of being a low handicap golfer.

As for Don, he says he feels “like a new man!” Even some longtime friends have failed to recognize him the first time he walked up to say “Hi!” Mission Accomplished!

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