Colin Schweich, Valerie Vo, Madison Raber, Tyler Bruken, and Ian Morago visited RISE for a tour of the facility, including exam rooms and the lab, where they were able to see several types of prostheses, including a hip disarticulation prosthesis, and meet an O&P patient.
During their visit, Amy Purdy—Paralympic bronze and silver medalist, best-selling author, actress, and cofounder of Adaptive Action Sports—happened to come to RISE for care that day. Purdy, who also danced on the 18th season of Dancing with the Stars, came to see Christian Bailey, CPO, for modification of one of her prostheses so she could wear it while using a rowing machine.
Though the students had never heard of Purdy, who has bilateral transtibial amputations after contracting meningococcal meningitis more than 20 years ago, she had their undivided attention. Purdy shared her wealth of knowledge and experience related to using prostheses and living with amputations, including her return to snowboarding following her rehabilitation and recovery, as well as the many opportunities she has had.
Purdy told the students she has no regrets. “Although I lost my legs at 19, if you asked me today if I’d ever want to change my situation, I would tell you no.”
She showed the students the bronze medal she earned competing in the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Russia and encouraged them to work hard to achieve what they wanted to attain in terms of a career.
Over the course of the semester, the students visited 12 professions including a law firm, credit union, the police and fire departments, as well as the mayor’s office in Lakewood before making their final stop at RISE Prosthetics & Orthotics before graduation this spring.
When asked about how their experience at RISE compared with the other field visits, Morago, who hopes to have a career in law enforcement, replied, “It was so much better than the credit union.”