Send Melissa to Adaptive Bootcamp

Hi, I am Melissa DeChellis, a 37 year old right below the knee amputee adaptive athlete, who is proud  to announce that I was accepted into the Adaptive Training Foundation’s REDEFINE Program, a  9-week intensive training camp created by retired NFL Seahawks  linebacker David Vobora  to help bridge the gap between where  rehabilitation ends and life begins for those who endured traumatic injuries or are faced with navigating a world with a disability. Adaptive Training Foundation’s (ATF) mission is to empower the human athlete, restore hope through movement, and redefine the limits of individuals with disabilities. This is a 9-week intensive training program to Restore, Recalibrate, and Redeploy adaptive athletes to inspire others in achieving what many would view as impossible. I am so excited to begin the program September 25, 2017….just a few weeks away!

For those of you who do not know my story, I was born with a congenital clubbed right foot, and despite a childhood filled with multiple reconstructions, casts, braces, and special shoes I not only participated in tennis, swimming, basketball, soccer, and my favorite softball – I excelled on the courts and fields and especially in the classroom. However, a devastating softball sliding injury destroyed my foot and ankle. I endured 12 reconstructions and multiple procedures to treat the intolerable pain and somehow found a way to finish the College of the Holy Cross’s pre-med program, receive my BA in Biology along with my EMT license, attain both clinical experience as an EMT/emergency room technician  and on a medical Spanish immersion mission trip to treat children in the rainforests of Guatemala, and research experience working in an orthopedic biomechanics and then a vascular biology lab before I finally attained my dream of attending medical  school. A year into the program I threw a massive blood clot that cut off circulation to my entire leg and at that point, with the support of my loving husband Michael, I eventually made the decision to proceed with a right below the knee amputation in April 2013. My recovery has been a long one and was complicated with multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, and an eventual revision surgery due to complications due to a poor and continually delayed prosthetic fit. I am now working with a prosthetist that is a better fit for me and with the revision surgery I have been able to partake in and excel in several of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s and Challenged Athletes Foundation’s (CAF) adaptive sports  programs– swimming and aqua aerobics, sled hockey, wheelchair basketball, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, golf, surfing, and yoga. I am an Amputee Coalition of American certified amputee peer visitor and attend and am very active in several  monthly support group meetings at Spaulding Charlestown and in the Boston area. My goal is to help other amputees navigate their limb loss journey with ease and confidence. I was recently  awarded a grant from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) for an Ossur Cheetah Xplore running/cross training prosthesis. Sports have always been a large part of my life and I look forward to finishing my recovery and being an athlete again as I train in my new Cheetah Xplore to get healthy and fit for the next chapter of my life….expanding our family and finally becoming a new mom.  I am honored to be accepted into the Adaptive Training Foundation’s REDEFINE program, a program that will help me achieve my goals.

I have been out of work for the past 4 years during a lengthy and complicated rehabilitation, and my husband Mike and I have been barely able to get by financially. Therefore, I am asking you to help me raise funds to help cover the travel and cost of living costs of attending this amazing program. The program itself is funded by the Adaptive Training Foundation and its sponsors, however I will need to raise money to pay for my plane ticket, transportation, food, prosthetic care while in the program, and other typical costs of living while living in Dallas, Texas to attend the 9-week REDEFINE program. It is very difficult for me to ask, but the truth is, I cannot attend this incredible program without your help and generosity.  If you cannot give, then please forward my gofundme campaign to friends and family who may be able to help. I appreciate your assistance in helping me to finish my rehabilitation, training, and getting back on my feet and back to living life to its fullest as a healthier, stronger, enhanced version of myself. I hope to bring what I learn in the REDEFINE program home to Boston to help provide opportunities for other adaptive athletes and those living with a disability to train and attain a healthy and active lifestyle.

For more information on the Adaptive Training Foundation Program and their mission please visit


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Melissa DeChellis 
Beverly, MA
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