Santa Delivers Holiday Surprise to 6-Year-Old Amputee Advocate

Hope Running Blade

Hope was born without her right leg at the hip and has been using a prosthesis since she was 18 months old.  This special 7-year-old testified to help pass House Bill 131 in New Mexico to make prosthetics and orthotics designed for physical activity more affordable by requiring New Mexico insurance companies to help pay for the cost of a second device. This Christmas, Hope received an extra special surprise – a running blade.

Hope’s Hanger Clinic prosthetist Gabe Brodehl, CPO, shared, “Individuals who have limb loss often suffer from not being able to have great mobility outcomes because of limitations with insurance – either their insurance has no coverage, their coverage is such that it is a high out-of-pocket cost, or the insurance deems that some devices are not medically necessary. An individual then must decide if they want to pay the out-of-pocket cost so they can have a specialized prosthetic or orthotic device that they need for physical activity.

In Hope’s case, her everyday prosthesis is made for walking and is not designed for running. This bill can help kids like Hope who need specialized devices for specific activities that enable them to grow in their level of motion.”

Christmas Surprise

During a recent visit to Hanger Clinic in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Santa Claus (otherwise known as Doug Wacker, CPO) made a special appearance and surprised Hope at her appointment. Her wish? A running blade for Christmas.

“I want a running leg so I can catch up with my friends at school … and so I can run fast with my friends,” Hope said. 

Thanks to local efforts and the Timothy J. Piazza Memorial Foundation, Hope received her special Christmas wish this year. She is thankful and excited to start using her running blade.

How to Get Involved

So Every BODY Can Move (formerly known as “So Kids Can Move”) is an initiative to provide greater access to specialized orthotic and prosthetic care used for physical activity. The initiative outlines the need for insurance coverage of medically necessary prosthetic limbs and custom orthotic braces designed to enable individuals with limb loss and limb difference to participate in exercise, recreation, and physical activities. Whether it’s coalition-building, legislative drafting, or contacting policymakers, So Every BODY Can Move has the resources and opportunities to get involved to make your voice heard.

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