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Help Courtney Get Her #DreamLeg

$45,217 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 638 people in 19 months
Created December 15, 2017
Hello. My name is Courtney Gilmour. I am a Canadian comedian (Yuk Yuk's, Just For Laughs, Kevin Hart's LOL Network, JFL42, CBC - just some credits so maybe you will think I am legit and v cool) and I was also born missing both hands and my right leg above the knee. One time I got a nose ring because I thought I needed something to help me 'stand out'.

This GoFundMe is a collaborative project between some very close and good-hearted friends and family, and I said I would write the description here since I have all the nuts n' bolts info and would like to tell my story.

So, look, I don't really do fundraisers like this and didn't think I would for this topic  so I want to do my best to be the two things I strive to be in my daily life about everything else: CLEAR AND NOT BORING.

I've been wearing prosthetic legs since I was a tiny infant cherub and they have served me well enough for basic function and mobility.  I have also used them to serve candy on Halloween, shelter kittens,  pose in front of Fred Astaire's Walk of Fame, and trip boyfriends in the middle of the night. I make the best of them.

(This is NOT the DreamLeg, it's my old one!)

A few months ago my artificial leg - which was brand shiny new and one out of a series of many failed attempts at securing a proper fitting prosthesis over the past 5 years - completely snapped in half on the stairs of Ossington subway station in Toronto. I was on my way to perform at a show and it buckled right underneath me with zero warning. I fell forward and caught myself before I could tumble down the stairs. I'm lucky I wasn't hurt and I'm lucky that it didn't happen moments earlier while exiting the train, or crossing an intersection, or tightrope walking across Niagara Falls as I like to do on Sunday afternoons, etc.

My agent who was across the street at the comedy club came over and carried me like Superman from the subway to the stage while my weird dangly dead fish leg flopped around in front of passersby 

"LOOK AT MY LEG!", I shrieked at people's bewildered faces. "LOOK AT ITTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!"

Then I performed my set sitting on a stool and this was the one good thing that came from it because I felt like Marc Maron and used my stage time to pompously chain smoke and yell a lot about what just happened.

(The smoking part is not true but, like, the ESSENCE of that MOOD was there.) 

A very special kindred spirit in my life came to pick me up, plop me on his bike, stuff my busted gam into a bag with the foot sticking out, and steer me home.



It took a few blocks for us to realize we could have just called an Uber. But it was the sentiment and a fun way to ride through the city feeling like E.T.

This brings me to #DreamLeg. For years I have been researching state of the art prosthetic limbs and keeping up with awesome technology. As it stands, (hahahahahasdfghjk;uy54reliuh)  the average artificial leg in Canada without any bells and whistles costs between $8-$20k excluding repairs, adjustments, transportation costs to/from the facility, physiotherapy, etc. A percentage of this cost is covered by ADP (Assistive Devices Program, in Ontario) and in some cases The War Amps organization or insurance companies, all depending on circumstances surrounding the cause of amputation. Otherwise, amputees are on their own.


(This is a very nice and well meaning Leg Doctor crossing his fingers in hopes that this one will work without issues; it didn't! Whoops!)

My Dream Leg is the $100,000 Genium X3 leg which is essentially the iPhone 8 or Maserati of legs.



It's military grade, waterproof, has a microprocessor knee, senses your motion, has activity modes like running and walking, has a stumble recovery feature to LITERALLY CATCH YOU if you start to fall on the stairs of Ossington station. It's the world's most advanced leg and it would change my life.

After feeling completely dejected with the Leg Process - the endless appointments, the mediocre technology, the  breakdowns and repairs, back pain, the helpless feeling of being in a limited body with a limitless mind, I decided I deserve to have this Robot Leg and a better quality of life. My plan was to tell my story and use my comedy career to raise money through a series of shows and projects. 

Once my family got wind of this, they took me out to dinner and presented me with a huge, exceptionally kind, amazingly generous offer to help me fund #DreamLeg no matter what it takes.




This was a beautiful, tearful moment I won't forget and the start of #DreamLeg fund. Over the next few weeks, however, a barrage of messages came rolling in from friends and family asking how they could help too. Comedians started banding together to start fundraiser shows to help my family.

I began to realize that as amazing as it is that my family wants to help me pay for this leg, I can't in good conscience just snatch this up and quietly live my new Robot Dream Babe life.

It is a LOT of money and I don't want to turn away people who really want to contribute to help me and my family. I also don't want to turn away an opportunity to discuss and make movement on a huge issue: making this type of technology for amputees more accessible and affordable long-term.

I know I equated #DreamLeg to a phone or a car but realistically it's not just a luxury item toy, and that's how the government views it right now, which is the problem. There is a REASON why it's going to make my life better and in another post I will break down the math in simpler terms of why it makes more sense for our government to develop a plan for better prosthetics and how it will actually cut down the costs long term.

So, this is where we are.  There is a series of comedy shows in the works, meetings with MPs, and then there is this little page where if you feel so inspired, you can make #DreamLeg happen not only for me but hopefully, going forward, for a lot of other people too. Please check back for jokes and updates.

Thank you x1000 in advance to everyone who is giving, and to the Leg Doctors (professional term) who have been doing the best they can for me over the years. 

"ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR ROBOTS."

I DON'T KNOW, WHATEVER. ALSO I WANNA BE ON 'DANCING WITH THE STARS'.

BYE.
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Hi I'm back with some exciting news!!

1.) THE WOBBLE IN #DREAMLEG IS GONE. WOOOHOOOO. The new knee shipment is AIRTIGHT BAYBAYYYY, more on that next time!

2.) This week, I'm being featured on GoFundMe's podcast, "True Stories of Good People!" The podcast features stories about people who are making a difference in other people's lives and my ep will air this Thursday, May 23rd. You can find it on all podcast streaming platforms once it's live. Here's a direct link to the podcast on iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/true-stories-of-good-people/id1389955443?mt=2

Hope you enjoy, and thanks again for the ongoing love and support!

xo,
Courtney
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Hi! It has been a good while. The #DreamLeg journey is nearing its end in some ways but also just BEGINNING in others. I was already overdue for a check-in but I got some INCREDIBLE NEWS today so it's perfect timing.

As you know, I've had the leg in my very HOME for quite a few months now. It's been mostly collecting dust in the corner of my bedroom recently because there has been an ongoing issue ever since I was sent the new knee after having the trial version on loan. The trial was A+ but from the second I stepped onto the shiny new freshly shipped knee, I felt something was off.

AND I REALLY MEAN THE LITERAL SECOND.

I felt a weird wobbly vibration that wasn't there before during the trial; every time I put pressure on the knee to take a step it would wobble and cause me to feel like I was about to fall. Not exactly the feeling you want with a $100K device.

The team spent hours, weeks, and months doing everything we could think of to make adjustments. We re-aligned the socket. We moved the knee back, we moved the knee forward. We swapped out the foot. Nothing worked. NOTHING even made a SLIGHT improvement. All I could feel was the wobble.

A month ago was my last appointment and I had reached peak frustration. I was beginning to think I was losing my mind, or that maybe I was just being hyper critical and not giving the leg a proper chance. I felt like I was inconveniencing everyone by holding up the process with this mysterious problem.

Trying to explain an invisible setback to able-bodied professionals, OOF. At one point a well meaning assistant watched my wobble-walk and suggested that "it's supposed to do that" and maybe I should just get used to it and I SWEAR IN THAT MOMENT I lifted my head up and gave a Jim Halpert look to an imaginary camera.

I left that day with a somewhat meagre action plan going forward. All ideas and resources had been exhausted, so our next move was to contact the company again and see if they could suggest anything.

AND.

THEN.

This morning I got a call from my prosthetist with news that the company said they've received this exact same complaint a number of times and that they've narrowed down the issue to air getting into the leg components during shipment. So, they will send me a new knee next week to make sure.

I

KNEW

IT.

I *KNEW* I FELT THAT SHIT AND I KNEW IT WASN'T RIGHT. IT FELT DEFECTIVE TO ME RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE. I KNEW IT WASN'T IN MY HEAD

I AM RIGHT I SWEAR I'M RIGHT SWEAR I KNEW IT ALL ALONGGGG

THIS HAS BEEN ME ALL DAY:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwLzuOMpkFw

ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INTUISH.

ANYWAY I'm delighted and relieved to hear of this breakthrough that hopefully will set things into ROCKET motion now.

GONNA SCUBA DIVE WITH THE RIPLEY'S SHARKS. I WENT SNORKELIN' A FEW MONTHS AGO AND NOW MOST OF MY #DREAMLEG GOALS ARE WATER-BASED.

So, that is where we are now. Thank you SO much as always/forever to everyone who continues to donate, share, and raise money at events for me. Truly thankful for all of you. Bookmark August 19th: fundraiser comedy show at The Rivoli!

Okay that's it for now, see ya!

xo,
Courtney
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JUST SENT AN EMAIL TO THE CN TOWER. I HOPE KEVIN THAT GUY WHO SITS UP THERE ON NIGHT SHIFT DUTY PLAYING NINTENDO AND PRESSING THE BUTTON TO FLASH THE COLOURS RECEIVES IT. HUGE FAN.

I have what I think is a good idea that came from a bad thing.

There have been many frustrating setbacks with this journey, and I've had a hard time telling people about them because of, I DON'T KNOW, guilt? Like I hyped this campaign up so much that it better be smooth and golden and if not, EVERYBODY WILL BE MAD?

I know that's not true, but the support and fundraising has been so overwhelmingly kind that it feels like a bummer to have to report back with news that it's going to take even longer to get #DreamLeg up and running properly, that there have been some hefty roadblocks in the way.

Here is just one example of many: The foot we ordered (prosthetic feet are manufactured and sold by separate companies; #DreamLeg is a knee that is its own component) is incompatible with #DreamLeg.

I can still walk on it right now but long-term it's not ideal. And the only other foot on the market that would work for me for is now being discontinued. Even though we already ordered it months ago and they were like "oh yeah lol we don't make that anymore try Toys R Us".

So we have to start from scratch trying to figure out a solution to get a foot so I can wear the shit out of this $100K knee, and I will get to that in a minute because it wasn't even the point of this post.

As some of you know I'm doing the annual CN Tower​ Stair Climb to raise money for United Way. I've climbed three years in a row and this was going to be my first time with #DreamLeg and going FOOT OVER FOOT up the steps, which I've never done before! I always just take my tortoise time and watch and laugh as people barf up spaghetti bolognese at the finish line.

I've been prepping hard all year, working with a personal trainer since June who kicks my ass and puts up with me being unnecessarily dramatic about doing squats at 6:30 AM while I insist that her version of 15 seconds is different than mine

I was really pumped to do this climb and beat my 32 min record. But the past few weeks have been rough due to #DL not being fully ready for it yet, particularly this past weekend when I tried climbing the stairs in my building and the glitchy issues flared up again and I basically had an emotional breakdown in my stairwell. Front desk probably watched the surveillance vid eating popcorn and thinking "Wtf just take the elevator idiot."

I SWEAR THIS IS BUILDING TO SOMETHING GOOD.

On Monday I had my millionth appointment at the clinic where I did my usual routine of spending six hours adjusting the leg, waiting, and trying to explain to able-bodied people why something feels off.

It's like trying to describe what it feels like to have a pebble at the bottom of your shoe. I don't know what or where it is, it's just there and you don't understand.

I get tired and impatient and depleted;there are so many variables, so much physical and mental work and I get exhausted. It is hard sometimes to feel anything but very alone in this.

That's when I got the discouraging update about the foot coupled with the grim realization that I will not be ready to climb foot over foot up the tower like I've been preparing for.

*BUT*.

As my prosthetist - who is by the way amazing and wonderful and doing the best she can with a flawed system and minimal resources - tearfully delivered the bleak news I felt strangely calm and then suddenly FEROCIOUS IN MY TUNNEL VISION.

(I think because I had literally just watched that video of the baby bear climbing up the snowy mountain and he keeps falling and getting back up until he makes it; in spite of my disdain for inspiration porn my heart exploded into confetti that days later I am still cleaning up.)

I was like, look, there is a solution to this. We don't know what it is yet but we will figure it out. I wasn't even trying to be brave or strong, I just felt like I'd HAD it with feeling frustrated and exhausted and I had this spontaneous, sparkling sense of knowing that it will work out, because it just can't not. I will write emails, call manufacturers, research FEET all over the internet until someone suspects I have a fetish, whatever we need to do.

We both agreed that there is ultimately a way to get the proper foot on #DreamLeg - so we will regroup because there is no other choice.

I'm honestly not angry anymore so please don't feel like you need to be angry for me. I would rather just focus on the positive progress I've made and the myriad of solutions I know exist even if they are invisible at the moment.

In the meantime: I am going to climb the CN Tower on November 24th with #DreamLeg, it will just be my old ding dong way and not using the cool foot over foot feature I'd hoped for.

So I had an idea. WHAT IF I CONVINCE THE CN TOWER TO LET ME HOST A #DREAMLEG CLIMB???? MY OWN FUNDRAISING CLIMB WHERE PEOPLE CAN REGISTER TO JOIN ME AND THE REGISTRATION FEE GOES TOWARDS THE REST OF THE LEG FUND + WAR AMPS/#DL FOUNDATION/OTHER TOTS WHO NEED LEGS. WHAT IF?

WHAT IF I WINE AND DINE THEM IN THEIR OWN 360 RESTAURANT AND THE ALTITUDE/ALCOHOL COMBO LEADS THEM TO SAYING YES?

Anyway I already asked them and they said no.

lolololopoihjbp098u7yhjio

Well, at the current red hot moment they love the idea but to staff that kind of event and have security, paramedics, etc is just too costly for what they consider to be a smaller initiative.

I would argue that given the fortunate year I've had, the press #DreamLeg has received, and the determination of both myself and my comedy community - we could magnify this to Drake levels. (I BET THEY'D LET DRAKE DO IT.)

While at first I was bummed that my good idea can't pan out now either - I won't speak too soon. Posting this on Facebook has already been therapeutic and has fallen into the hands of the right people, and I believe something good will come from this even if it's not what I thought.

It also reminded me that, if you allow it, there is so much joy in the journey of an idea - just the daydream! Can we let a feeling be enough? I'm learning. It felt jubilant to fight pessimism with a tiny spark that would turn into an electrifying brainstorm. It pointed me towards a solution-oriented mindset, and OH YEAH DUH, I can have that even without the solution. Wild.

All the pressure of feeling like I can’t be real about the #DL process is completely self-imposed, I put astronomically high expectations on myself (literally no one is even asking me to climb the damn CN Tower, no one is demanding that I prove to them I'm wearing my leg), I just know that people want to know about it because they helped me get here and are happy for me so I want to give them good news. TO ME IT IS THE LEG OF THE PEOPLE.

But I’m doing my best to let myself off the hook more often and just appreciate that I'm getting closer and that I have so many cherub-hearted souls who wish the best for me.

Thank you times infinityx1000 to anyone/everyone who has donated time, money, and genuine inquiry towards this adventure. All of it is good. Also maybe I will just wear a Barbie leg now, idk.

If you would like to sponsor me or climb with me for the Nov 24 CN Tower Climb in support of United Way, the link is here: http://uwgt.convio.net/site/TR/CommunityEvents/General?px=1068346&pg=personal&fr_id=1090

Goodnight, good morning, good day!

I said GOOD DAY!

xo.
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IT'S BEEN....ONE WEEK SINCE YOU LOOKED AT ME wearing #DreamLeg.

I've had #DL in my POSSESH for a week and things are great! It's a new adjustment and I have some fine tuning and kinks to work out, but it's here and DREAMY.

WANNA SEE IT? I have two ADDED solo headlining shows to my JFL42 run and they are tonight (Friday) and tomorrow the 29th both at Comedy Bar 10:00 pm. These shows have been a dream come true, last night at The Riv was a true BLASTOFF of fun and now I'm SO PUMPED to have my final two returning to Comedy Bar, a place that is special in my heart.

I've been doing very stupid bits with the leg and just generally having a goofy time. COME WATCH.
RESERVE YOUR PASSES. Tickets will be available at box office but I recommend getting there early to make sure you get a seat!

See ya!

https://www.jfl42.com/act/courtney-gilmour/
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$45,217 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 638 people in 19 months
Created December 15, 2017
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