Meet our bloggers. Each one wears many hats in life, like our police detective/author/musician Kevin. Our bloggers are from all walks of life, each with a distinct and unique point of view but what they all have in common is their passion to share their lives and stories with you in their own words. We enjoy reading their posts and know you will too. Let us know what you think by leaving comments at the end of each post. And don’t forget to sign up below to stay in touch.
Husband, hockey, soccer, dance and golf dad, golfer, sled hockey player, traveler. Founder of Wiggle Your Toes and COO of Tillges Orthotic Prosthetic, Inc.
When Aaron arrived at work on January 2, 2007 he received a call from a colleague stranded on a major highway in the Twin Cities. Aaron, known as the guy who would give the shirt of his back to help anyone, went to see what he could do to help. When he arrived at the scene he got out of his car to survey the situation when another car crashed into Aaron’s car crushing him between the two cars. As the result of an accident Aaron lost both of his legs above the knee. Needing to find resources and solutions that would allow him to return to his life as quickly as possible, but frustrated by the lack of clear steps to take, Aaron decided to figure it out on his own. He leveraged his 15 years of professional experience in business development and management in the Information Technology and Engineering staffing, consulting and outsourcing industry to pull together the resources he needed to make a quick and successful recovery. In May of 2008 Aaron turned the entire experience into a non profit called Wiggle Your Toes with the mission to help other amputees regain independence and mobility. Aaron continues to give back to the amputee community through W.Y.T.’s and by lobbying on Capital Hill for the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) parity act. Aaron is a bi-lateral C-Leg wearer who resides in the Twin Cities with his wife Amanda and their three children.
Del is an involved dad who had a hard time keeping up with his very active 11 year old daughter due to over 20 years of debilitating lower back pain. A former diesel mechanic and house framer, he was no longer able to do any heavy lifting, and over time had difficulty walking. But when Del’s orthotist fit him with the new Ottobock C-Brace his life changed. Now Del is able to keep up with his family, even when it requires spending 19 hours in his C-Braces while visiting Sea World!
On Christmas Day 2009 I became an above knee amputee at 20 years old when I fell asleep driving and hit a guardrail head on. Over 50 feet of guardrail traveled through the front of my car, through my knee, and exited out the trunk of my vehicle. I’m blessed enough to say that my amputation was my only injury and nobody else was hurt due to my accident. Although it was a long and hard road to recovery, I am pleased to say that I wear my C-Leg from the start of my day to the end and have been doing so for over 2 years now!!
Kevin lost his right knee in 2005 due to complications related to a motorcycle accident he had two years earlier and was fit with a C-Leg. Kevin became only one of less than four above knee amputee police officers in the country and the first ever in the state of Kentucky. Kevin went on to fly in the Air Unit for two years before becoming a homicide detective for another three years. He was even featured on the A&E channel’s First 48 program during the highest ever rated premier show of season ten. Kevin wrote and published a biography about his experience called The Serious Business of Laughing at Life.
November 23, 2007 my life changed forever. I became a parent. I didn’t know that I would be a parent to an extra special little boy or that I would be giving up my career as active military duty. I didn’t know that I would become an advocate, break out of my shell and stop being shy, or that I would stop worrying about myself and start to do whatever I needed to make sure that my son had whatever he needed to thrive in this world.
I had no idea that I would learn how to raise my voice do more research on one subject than I ever thought possible and I would even slightly obsess over what types of therapy are best, study the way that medical equipment worked, learn ADA laws, and how to navigate the world of early intervention and special education.
Now I have two extra special boys and, looking back, I am so thankful that my life has changed so drastically. Some days, it’s all I can do to face the day ahead of me because I don’t want to think about doctors appointments, or medicines,or therapy equipment. Other days, I get woken up by a little boy rubbing my arm or trying to crawl in bed with me and cuddle or by hearing someone coo in his crib and smile from ear to ear when I walk in his room and he hears my voice, and I don’t worry about that other stuff, because even though it is important, it’s not the most important thing.
Marina Nakhla was born with congenital abnormalities, resulting in a bilateral above-knee amputation when she was only fourteen months old. Ever since then, she has been wearing prosthetic legs. She was treated at Shriner’s Hospital until she was discharged at 18 and then transferred to Hanger Clinic. She currently lives with her mom and her sister, who support her endlessly.
She is currently studying psychology; her future goals are to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and practice as a licensed neuropsychologist. She hopes to work one day with those who have physical disabilities and with those who have faced great adversities.
Sister. Friend. Educator. Sports Enthusiast. Passionate. Belly Laughs. Bay Area. Road Trips. Traveling. Yoga. Hiking. Oh and bagels. Definitely bagels.
Monica Goulette was born, raised, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. She has two older brothers and is an avid sports fan. Growing up, she loved school and being active outside.
Her life drastically changed around the age of 12 when she started to become chronically ill. Monica has since been diagnosed with Lyme Disease as well as other infections. Due to her illness, Monica sustained paralysis of her right leg at the age of 17. She has many other complications and symptoms as well, but the paralysis closed many doors on the activities that she grew up loving. Her leg has been paralyzed for six years now.
For three and a half years, Monica used a locked knee-ankle-foot orthotic (KAFO) before being introduced to Ottobock’s C-Brace. The C-Brace reopened the doors that had previously been shut. She’s been an extremely active user since the day she received it.
She works full time at a local nonprofit putting on leadership camps and various educational programs for her community. She is also a part time student. Everyday she strives to walk at least five miles, if not more, on her C-Brace and hopes to one day hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
Rebecca, 43, was riding her bike to work on Nov. 9, 2010, when a garbage truck hit her. She nearly lost her life and did lose her left leg four inches above the knee. After a long recovery, Rebecca was fit with a Genium. She is now regaining her once independent and active life that included cycling and skating, yoga, and work in special education. Inspired by a necklace given to her by family members, inscribed with the words from Confucius: “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step,” Rebecca set a goal of walking 1,000 miles on her new prosthesis. Her blog called A Thousand Miles chronicles her journey of 1,000 miles and beyond.
In developing educational materials for lower limb prosthesis users, we’ve saved some of the most helpful information we’ve received from our bloggers, Prosthetists, and others so that we can put it here on the Momentum blog. This post should not be considered as a substitute for medical, legal or financial advice from a qualified professional. Our hope is that the information that follows helps you on your journey to live a life in motion.