Polar Plunge to the Warm Ocean – by Rob

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At the Wiggle Your Toes benefit on Friday, February 7, Aaron made an announcement that he was starting a Polar Bear Plunge team for Wiggle Your Toes and would be taking the plunge on February 15 to raise money for the Special Olympics of Minnesota.  Since Aaron’s prosthetic legs are both waterproof (X3) and mine is not (Genium), I told Aaron that if I could track down a waterproof leg, I would join the team and jump in with him. This promise was made not thinking it would happen, but I was wrong…ha!  The Wednesday before the Polar Plunge, Ottobock and found a waterproof 3R80 leg for me to use. This gave me only a couple days to think about the jump, which was probably a good thing.

About to belly flop
Rob about to belly flop!
Rob and Aaron at the Polar Plunge

At this point I only have 2 days to raise my money for the Wiggle Your Toes team, but with some amazing support I was able to raise over $1000 personally for the Special Olympics of Minnesota.  My support group was very excited for me to take the plunge, and I admit I was really excited as well.  The day of the jump came and of course it started snowing and was about half as warm as the weather person said it would be–typical!  The team was ready and so was Aaron and I. We made our way out the warming shack and down to the water, walking the path that took us thru the giant inflatable polar bear. I came to the edge of the hole in the ice, took one last look and did what I had to do– a perfect belly flop! It was the best way to celebrate the moment! The whole event was great.  I will definitely do it again, if I have a waterproof knee by next year.

After the Polar Plunge, I was down in Marco Island for 5 days and I brought the waterproof 3R80 leg with me.  I took a wrench to the beach and changed my knee to do something I haven’t done in 9 years.  I walked into the ocean by myself for the first time since I was in my accident and lost my right leg above the knee.  The feeling that came over me when I walked all the way into the ocean until the water was up to my chest caught me off guard.  It was an amazing feeling; it’s a good thing you couldn’t tell I was tearing up since I was in the ocean…

Handstand in the ocean
Rob doing a handstand in the ocean

I never realized how much it bothered me going to the ocean or even the beach on the lake.  If I wanted to go in the water I either had to bring my crutches with me, take my leg off on the beach and crutch into the ocean, then either throw my crutches up far enough the waves didn’t get to them or have someone take them back to our spot for me. Plus sand would get all over my wet crutches!  I am pretty confident about my looks at this point, but this is one time that you feel like you are on a stage as you make your way down the beach and into the ocean — it is very intimidating. I didn’t realize how much this bothered me until I made the walk down the beach and into the ocean by myself. What an amazing feeling…

Thank you Ottobock for giving me a permanent smile on part of my heart.


P.S. The quick switch into locked mode for the knee is a great feature; it allowed me to do my first two legs in the air hand stand in the water in a long time.  I was tired of people thinking I could only get one leg in the air when I did them before!

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