Becoming Bionic: Katy Fetters
$11,000 of $10,787 goal
-Having ordinary human powers increased by the aid of bionic devices (real or fictional).
At 24 years old, I feel as though my tired body is fighting tremendously every day to keep up with my adventurous spirit and ambitious travel plans. My name is Katy Fetters, I have cerebral palsy, and I want to become bionic.
I am writing to you today to ask that you support me in my pursuit of a new, more enjoyable and active experience of the physical world.
Many of you already know my story, you know my family, our business , and the type of healthy lifestyle I strive to lead but for those of you who don't:
I came into this world against all odds; like many with CP, my parents were told at my birth that I would never walk-- but my body and brain persisted-- as a baby I army crawled and eventually, I stood up. I clumsily walked, learned how to ride a bike after many skinned palms and knees. I even rode a skateboard on my stomach just because I wanted to do whatever my siblings could do! I may fall down or stumble (a lot) but I always get back up. Because that is what having a physical disability has taught me to do. I am in a constant mode of adaptation toward my environment.
I can walk, but I can't run anymore. My feet are too worn and fractured due to my poor gait. I fear that my body will one day fail me and in turn, affect my ability to live independently, to see the world, and to even be the best wife and mother I could be to a beautiful family.
I am certain that the ExoSym will be my ultimate relief; a sleek and highly sophistocated device to enhance my weak leg's muscles and stiff, painful joints. Mechanically, it will seamlessly align my hip, knee, and foot to increase the smoothness of my stride. It will allow me the freedom to access muscles in my body that have been dormant my entire life due to my brain's functional inability to make those important motor connections.
This brace will present its own challenges but I am more than ready to take on this responsibility to my future self. Despite my CP, I am going to travel down into South America with the love of my life for five months this upcoming New Year. That is another reason why this brace feels necessary right now more than ever before.
I am determined to work hard and gain the strength to run & hike better and stronger but I need your help to make this vision possible!
The Money Stuff:
If they [my insurance co.] review and approve my request, my estimated responsibility due at the time of delivery would be $2,112.00. If they review and deny my request, I should have a chance to appeal the decision. If insurance denies all requests for coverage and my family & I decide to move forward, the cost of the device & knee section is $10,787.50 to be paid in full at time of delivery. This amount includes the evaluation, casting, fabrication, and fitting of the test device and completed finalized device, functional training, and adjustments as necessary. My goal is to travel up to the clinic in Washington to get fitted for the brace a month from now, on Monday, November 14th so that I will have a few weeks to train & learn how to use it before I leave the country for several months.
It is not very promising that I will receive any financial assistance due to the fact that this brace is deemed for military use, is experiemental and so forth. But I know this is the real deal, and I hope you see that too. If my case is well received, all donations will be refunded once I have met the $2, 112.00 minimum fundraising goal or the exceeding funds will be donated (at your will, with permission) to UCP-OC, my local center for children with developmental disabilities.
Most of all, I want to be an example for those with a physical disability to know that it's okay to be open about their struggles, be proud to pursue their dreams, and have the courage to take on every challenge that life inevitably presents. This device can help so many with CP specifically, and I hope to be one of the firsts to publicly share their experience with this kind of prosthetic.
Any support that you could provide: sharing this link, donating $5, or even telling someone you know who might also benefit from an ExoSym would make all the difference in the world to me. It is not natural for me to ask for personal charity and I only do so because I've found the answer: the Bionic, Badass ExoSym Brace. I believe in this doctor, his passionate work-ethic, and this device's ability to ultimately give me a better quality of life. Thank you, sincerely for your time & support in helping me become bionic.
October 14, 2016
Wow-- is it October again already? This month feels significant to me. The cerebral palsy community celebrated "World CP Day" this past Friday, October 6th all over the world. And next weekend will be the 1 year mark from starting this campaign. I just want to let you all know again, how much I appreciate what you have done for me. I'll have had my ExoSym for one year this November 14th! Not a day goes by that I don't think about how lucky I am to live pain free and walk better than I ever have. I wish everyone could know the difference. I can't believe all of the things I've done where I have felt more able and confident.
What is probably the craziest (stupidest?) thing I've ever done: a four-day trek out to The Lost City in the mountains of Colombia. And I was able to keep up with my 6 ft. 5 in boyfriend (just barely) all throughout our hikes and explorations of South America. It was one of the most beautiful, difficult experiences of my life!
I am not sure if I will ever walk completely "normal" but I am happy with the progress I have made these past 11 months. No one can really predict how the body (and brain) will respond to a major "walking make-over" but I am trusting that time & effort will continue to have a positive effect.
I moved to Boulder, CO this past August to pursue a MA in Media & Public Engagement to continue to build my online community for young adults with CP. www.cerebralpalsystrong.com has been growing steadily on social media this year alone and I only imagine it expanding into something much greater! I definitely believe having my ExoSym has opened an entirely new conversation online for those with disabilities. I personally know five individuals with CP who either have an ExoSym or are getting one (even two!) very soon. And that is all because you've allowed me the opportunity to be one of the first ones to go for it & write about my progress! What a cool thing.
So thank you for believing in this dream of mine and for giving me so much more than I ever could've anticipated.
This will probably be my last update, since I am sure we all get enough emails & updates (especially around the holidays, right??)
Take care, and I hope that the rest of 2017 brings you all the good things in life. -Katy
I am sitting here on this sunny Friday morning thinking about how its been exactly 6 months since I received my device!! And what a 6 months it has been. I am still processing all of my travels, what a crazy thing to have driven the entirety of South America! Not many people can say they have done that haha. I am looking forward to continuing my progress in the gym this summer now that I am in one place for awhile...it has been a challenge to walk in this new way and I have to remind myself that this is a lifelong process. My CP will always be with me but so will my ExoSym! I now can't really imagine my life without it.
I can't recall if I mentioned this is my last update to you but at this point right now, 3 people are in one stage or another of getting their own ExoSym and only because they found out through my gofundme and blog!!
Thank you for all being a part of something this life changing, your help is extending far and wide beyond myself.
Have an amazing summer everyone.
I am often reminded how none of this would be possible without your kindness and support in helping me fundraise the device. Becoming bionic was the best thing to ever happen to me: this is me with CP: 2.0!! I hope all is well with you in our blooming springtime!
My bionic journey has had its ups & downs this past month, I think I am constantly re-evaluating my body's limitations with my exosym but today was a great day!!! We are now making our way into Ecuador, at Cotopaxi National Park-- behold one of the world's biggest active volcanoes!! (It was 26° and 15,000 ft at this point with lots of wind— my california wardrobe barely held up! We did about 1,000 ft up to this lodge nice and slowly. It was gorgeous.
I recently purchased some walking sticks after a troubling hike and so far, I love them! For anyone who deals with balance issues, I would recommend giving them a try on different terrain and such. Thanks for tuning into my travels & progress!!
Godspeed, Friend! xoxo