In 2006, Darryl Farler was hanging out at the dog park on Superbowl Sunday when he was scratched in the corner of his eye by his dog. This led to a life-threatening infection, a coma, and eventually a double lower-leg amputation. Farler found himself dealing with debilitating depressing during the next few years post-amputation.
These days, thanks to Amputee Blade Runners, Daryl Farler is using his prosthetic legs to the fullest. He’s completed half marathons, Ragnar Relay races, and the Boston Marathon. “I may be missing my legs, but I’m alive. Running is a powerful way to celebrate that,” says Darryl in an inspiring piece featured on Runners World website.
Blade runners allow athletes to run faster and smoother, and can also be less painful than traditional prosthetics, which are heavy and can limit range of motion. They offer a bit of relief on the limbs and joints throughout the body. Children who are fitted with blades wear them all the time so they can keep up with friends and family, and can glean the same learning experiences and benefits (social/mental/physical) as their peers.
Most health insurance companies do not cover prosthetics, even for children who are born with congenital disorders. Prosthetics are deemed ‘not medically necessary’, some insurance companies have even described them as a luxury item.
That’s where Amputee Blade Runners steps in. They help amputees keep an active lifestyle by providing them with life-changing blades free of charge. If that wasn’t incredible enough, they complete the fit process in person so that the amputee walks away with a properly fitted blade in a timely matter. Sometimes, the amputees get to participate in the process so they understand how it all works.
Many athletes state that they didn’t even know what they were missing. “With my standard prosthetics, unfortunately, it was like running on a brick, but I still continued to stay active and push through the pain. This limited my ability to excel to my full potential – until I heard of Amputee Blade Runners and that I could apply for a grant to get a running leg,” says Delaney Kerby, a 20-year-old member of the ABR team.
For children who are born with congenital deformities, their desire to jump, run, and play is not matched by a normal prosthesis. Eli, a member of the ABR team, was born with a fibular hemimelia of the right leg and had an amputation of his right foot at 7 months old. He received his first prosthetic leg when he was 11 months old.
“His previous prosthesis did not have the feedback/spring needed to propel himself forward as in running. Furthermore, it was common that he had issues with fit and would have red marks and discomfort that would limit his activity as well,” say Eli’s parents, “We believe that the running/sport prosthetics provided by ABR is the best leg we could receive for our son, and an answer to our prayers.”
They also help adults, many of them who had no idea there were other options for amputees until they found ABR.
Sidney’s insurance would not cover any running blade, telling him it is considered a “luxury.” Sidney, age 32, connected with Amputee Blade Runners, which provided him with two running blades in September 2016. He was able to purely run for the first time in his life. He wept for joy for the gift and ability that he received. In the past two years, Sidney has competed in races such as Ruck Runs, Ragnar Relays, 10Ks, ½ Marathons, 4 Olympic Distance Triathlons, and 3 Ironman 70.3s. He is currently training for a full IRONMAN.
“Running is now not painful and I can go further and faster than with my walking prosthetics. Life has gotten better with my running legs from ABR. I am healthier physically and emotionally with them,” says Smith.
Amputee Blade Runners helps children born without limbs experience the joy and sense of accomplishment that physical activity can bring about. For those who experience amputation at later ages, after a lifetime of normal mobility, they offer assistance in a new way of life.
Think of all the psychological and emotional benefits that being mobile, and even further, being able to exercise, move around easily, or even to play with your friends brings about. The important lessons that are learned through group sports or camaraderie that develops while playing tag in the backyard.
The ability to move and be active, to play with fellow peers at recess, participate in gym class, or to cross the finish line is priceless.
When you sign up for Spring 2019 Half or Full Marathon training and choose Amputee Blade Runners as your charity of choice, you will be helping to provide amputees with life-changing technology and freedom to those who might not be able to be active otherwise.
Sign up for Spring 2019 Half and Full Marathon Training and choose Amputee Blade Runners as your charity!
Click here to learn more about Amputee Blade Runner and their team of incredible athletes!