Condition: Below-elbow Congenital Limb Deficiency
Solution: Arm Prostheses
Since she was a little girl, Carrie Davis knew she was unique. Born without her left arm, she often wondered, “Why me?” She longed to be known for her contributions, not for what she was missing.
Carrie Davis was born and raised in Spokane, Washington; the perfect place for an outdoor enthusiast. As a child, Carrie enjoyed a number of outdoor activities including fishing, camping, skiing, boating, and track and field. In high school, Carrie was involved in numerous clubs and activities and volunteered with developmentally disabled students daily. It was with those students where she developed a passion for teaching and service.
She went on to Washington State University and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and minored in Speech Communications. She also earned her Secondary Teaching Certificate, and upon graduation, returned to Spokane to teach high school English and to coach a national qualifying debate team. After her first year, she was one of three teachers in School District 81 to receive the Sallie Mae Best New Teacher Award. Two years later, she moved to California and continued her teaching career and then went on to Texas, where she left her teaching job in order to take on another job: motherhood.
In Texas, Carrie started working part-time for Hanger Clinic, setting appointments for upper extremity clinics and offering assistance to patients who were making decisions about prosthetics. Over the last nine years, the position has evolved, and now Carrie functions as the National Upper Extremity Patient Advocate, combining her love of teaching and service with her passion to help others like her and as the AMPOWER National Coordinator, a group of over 650 trained volunteers who assist others transitioning into life after limb loss.
Carrie was born with a below-elbow congenital limb deficiency and has worn a prosthesis since she was nine months old. She has tried every option available from the cable-operated prosthesis, to the passive prosthesis, to the technologically advanced myoelectric prosthesis, including the most recent addition to the UE market, the iLIMB. Additionally, she uses a variety of specialized terminal devices, like a guitar adapter, weight lifting adapters, and biking and swimming devices to assist her in attaining her goals. She has participated in numerous sporting events like the CAF San Diego Triathlon Challenge and the NYC Nautica National PC Championship Triathlon and has been awarded First Place National Female Upper Limb Amputee Finisher twice.
As part of her position with Hanger Clinic, she travels across the country offering her experience and perspective to patients, therapists, prosthetists and doctors in her committed effort toward improving patient care and is the recipient of the esteemed JE Hanger Excellence Award for customer service. She acts as a peer mentor and serves as the support group leader and assistant for Camp No Limits, a national foundation dedicated to helping young amputees realize their potential. She also works with families of children born with congenital anomalies and advocates for all amputees, assisting those in need to find resources for funding, as well as through her participation in the ACA Peer Mentor Program and the ACA’s Lobby Day on Capitol Hill this year.
Carrie lives by the motto, “Life is not about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself,” and strives to create the best life for herself, her family, and for the people and patients she serves, by taking an active role in life, regardless of limitations. She believes that the only limitations we have for ourselves are the ones that we create in our own minds, and therefore, she chooses “no limits.” She is grateful everyday that she is able to assist in the lives of others through her participation in patient care in the prosthetics industry.
Today, Carrie is the AMPOWER National Coordinator and an Upper Extremity Patient Advocate. She provides peer training for other AMPOWER members, writes articles about limb loss and the power of peer support for local and national publications and personally meets and greets all new Empowering Amputees members.
Challenges are inevitable. Defeat is optional.