Hello, The above photo is of my friend Jaime Riley who is a mom of five (yes, she looks like a kid herself, but she is 31). More about Jaime to come.
I'm Meg Wolff
for those of you that don't know me. I'm 57 years old and I've been an above knee amputee foe 25 years, due to bone cancer at age 33. At that time my children, Francis & Cammie were 3 years old and 5 months old. It was a shock to our family, but by the grace of God and the support of my husband and both of our families and our friends and Tom's coworkers , were made it through the hardest years when our children were little. Many of you know how at times I have struggled with my prosthesis over the years and it makes a huge difference who can make a leg for an above knee amputee.
Most people only see the elite amputee athletes on TV, which is really great and something to aspire to, but the sad fact is, is that most of these people are below knee amputees. Above knee amputees have it tougher. There are some that do well if they have had a good limb surgery, but there is a huge percentage that cannot be fit comfortably enough to even where their artificial leg.
The technology for making the knees and the feet are wonderfully advanced (and costly), but to make the socket and frame that our amputated limb fits into has not had the same advances. It is still an art form and takes a lot of time, patience, and talent to do. It's like painting the Sistine Chapel, only Michaelangelo could orchestrate that!
I was fortunate enough to find a prosthetist that is the Michaelangelo of prosthetics and I'm luckier than most, because many amputees give up for a number of reasons, they are told that they just have to get used to the paid, that it is their weight, their attitude, there are many excuses that prosthetists that can't fit above knees say to the amputee that make them feel responsible for their inability to be fit (or the prosthetists lack of talent ).
Now, Can you imagine what it is like being the single mom of five boys ranging in ages between 14 and ten months old, being an above knee amputee and on crutches and no leg? Permanently. That's how life is for my friend, Jaime Riley. Difficult is an understatement. In addition, Jaime cannot drive because she does not have a vehicle that is adapted (she is missing her right leg above the knee), nor can she afford to buy one as she subsists on social security.
The great thing about Jaime is that she is an awesome mom to Aidan, Caleb, Cody, Logan & Cameron and in spite of her difficulties her children receive the best of care. But her body is breaking down from all she has to do on crutches and this sometimes depresses her after a long day, she has no energy left and at times in a lot of pain.
A little background. Jaime lost her leg below the knee as a child (2 years old) and growing up she experienced many infections because of the prosthetic always rubbing. Jaime is now 31, but at 26 she came down with osteomyelitis, a dangerous bone infection. To keep it from spreading to vital parts of her body her doctors had to amputate the leg above the knee. It was never the same for her after that. She experienced excruciating nerve pain when she wore her now above knee prosthetic leg. It required her to take strong meds to even wear the leg, but she had to because she has 5 kids. The prosthetist that made her leg told her there was nothing he could do to make her leg fit more comfortably. She couldn't keep taking the meds, so she had to make the decision to stop wearing the leg, and instead use crutches and one leg. This took a big toll on the rest of her body. She said she has no friends because of this as she can rarely go outside.
Jaime joined the Facebook Amputee page that I belong to and she heard about me and a few other woman who had the same problem--no prosthetists could fit them comfortably in an above knee prosthetic leg. We were all also told nothing could be done to fit us comfortably, that we would have to get used to the pain or some such nonsense, we all had similar stories. Basically, we were either wearing horribly uncomfortable legs, or no prosthesis at all, and going with crutches. That is, until we met up with Bill Copeland, or Copeland Prosthetics & Research,
a prosthetist in Tampa, Florida, who is known as a prosthetist who has fit many "hopeless" cases comfortably and is my Michangelo of the prosthetic world. I once heard someone say, "Bill gets all the people no one else can fit." So after hearing our stories, Jaime would like to try to go down to FL from the Northeast to see him.
Jaime has insurance that would cover the new socket and frame she would need (new leg), but she is barely subsisting on social security with her 5 boys and she would need to raise the money for a plane flight to Tampa and back, for the hotel and food while there. We based this estimate of her staying for 3 weeks, but it may possibly be two weeks.
If any of you that read this are moved to donate to this trip for Jaime's comfortable leg, it would change Jaime's life and the life of her children immensely. She would be able to were a prosthesis and walk comfortably. Her wish is to be able to take her kinds to the playground!
Any amount would be greatly appreciated. And if you would kindly pass This story/fundraiser along to others, by email, or sharing it on your Facebook page, both Jaime and I will be eternally grateful.
Thank you so very much in advance. May your donation come back to you a thousand fold.