In 2014, I had my left leg amputated below the knee, and in 2016, I had my right leg amputated below the knee. In 2017, I had my right leg amputated above the knee, and in 2018, I had my left leg amputated above the knee. I am now a bilateral above-the-knee amputee.
From a very young age, I have had a very active lifestyle and have been involved with sports and martial arts. I began wrestling in Junior High at the age of 13, which I continued throughout high school. I also ran cross country and track while I was in high school. While attending Michigan State University, I began practicing Judo, which I continued to practice until Covid restrictions made person to person practice impossible.
Since my last amputation in 2019, I have been primarily using a wheelchair. I've been working diligently with my physical therapist on developing the necessary strength and flexibility, as well as the skills required to walk and be independent using two above-the-knee prosthetic legs. My level of strength and flexibility I feel is adequate, however, the mechanics of current prosthetic knee make advanced movements -- ie pivoting, turning, walking up and down stairs, etc -- very difficult. After months of physical therapy, I am only able to walk straight forward, have my therapist move my wheelchair so I can sit in it, and roll me back to my original starting position so that I can again walk straight forward. I have been practicing walking straight forward in this manner to develop my overall strength and flexibility for the past several months and continue to do so. Despite my increased experience using my current prosthetic legs, I do not feel completely safe practicing the more advanced movements even with the physical therapist.
New advances in prosthetics have led to the C-Leg prosthetic leg.
If I were to have the C-Leg prosthetic legs, the mechanics of the knee include a microprocessor-driven hydraulic system. The knees are specially programmed to know how I walk, and will offer me appropriate resistance through the hydraulics system. This will allow me to have a better sense of balance and will allow me to not only walk straight forward, but to pivot, turn, walk up and down stairs, and all the other advanced movements which will allow me to be more independent and active and minimize the risk of injury.
The C-Leg prosthetic is not completely covered by Medicaid, which is my only insurance. The amount that I would be responsible for is $45,300. I'm asking for your help to help me reach this goal and regain my independence and active lifestyle.
Here is video of me walking with my current prosthetic legs.
- Dave Leach
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