EmpowerFest 2017

Guest Speakers   |   Featured Facilitators

EmpowerFest 2017: Connecting People with Lower Limb Amputations

Golf · Swimming · Mobility Training · Yoga · Adaptive Dancing · Health and Wellness · Concert on the Lawn · Ask Your Doctor · Pediatrics Track · Men's and Women's Resources · Quad Support Group · Surprise Guests · Prosthesis Maintenance · Peer-to-Peer Support · World-Class Prosthetists

Reserve your spot to attend Hanger Clinic's EmpowerFest, where you'll have the opportunity to learn from professional amputee athletes, world-class prosthetists, and peers who are thriving with prosthetic technology! Discover the power of shared experiences and support from the uplifting community of lower limb amputees. All ages and levels of mobility are welcome.

Lives will be changed, challenges overcome, and goals achieved for lower limb amputees at Hanger Clinic's EmpowerFest.

Dates: October 6 - 8, 2017
(Start time: 8am on Oct. 6th; End time: 2pm on October 8th)

Location: San Jose, California

Event Fee: $50 per person
Event fee includes breakfast and lunch daily and Friday night concert and dinner. Guests can include family members or supportive friends, but not medical professionals.

Deadline to register has been extended to Monday, October 2, 2017!

Flight Information
Plan to arrive Thursday October 5th and depart late Sunday, October 8th or on Monday, October 9th. The nearest airport, San Jose International Airport, is 15 minutes from the hotel: flysanjose.com

Hotel Information
Dolce Hayes Mansion
200 Edenvale Avenue
San Jose, CA 95136

Room Rate
$99 per night

Guest Speakers

Cameron Clapp, Hanger Clinic Patient Advocate

​Cameron Clapp

On September 15, 2001, four days after the tragedy of 9/11, 15-year-old Cameron Clapp experienced his own devastating tragedy – after an evening of underage drinking with his twin brother, Clapp was struck by a train and lost both legs and his right arm in the accident. He was told by members of the medical community that he would never walk again, but Clapp proved them wrong just five months after the accident by walking independently with two prosthetic legs.

Showing that spirit and determination can conquer even the worst odds, Clapp made a remarkable physical and emotional recovery. His perspective changed; he valued life in a way that only someone who brushed death could. Unfortunately, his identical twin brother, Jesse, continued to experiment with drugs. In January 2008, Clapp lost his best friend and twin brother to a drug overdose.

Now at 30-years-old, Clapp travels the country on two microprocessor-controlled legs sharing his incredible survival story with fellow amputees, teenagers, and members of the medical community. Clapp’s message is simple – give your patients hope; life is about overcoming obstacles, setting goals, never giving up, making the right decisions, and not using drugs and alcohol.


Yvonne Llanes, Bilateral Above Knee Patient Advocate

Yvonne Llanes

My name is Yvonne Llanes, and I am from San Antonio, Texas. I am 48 years old, and have been a double above knee amputee for 11 years. Before my amputations, I was an elementary school principal, and taught for 18 years prior to that. I was a busy mother of 4 and the wife of an active duty Marine. On September 18, 2005, while at an outdoor shopping mall in Yuma, Arizona, I was loading packages into the back of my vehicle.

Unbeknownst to me, a driver high on methanphetamines hit me from behind, pinning me between my vehicle and his, severing my legs upon impact. Once the responders in the area were able to separate the vehicles, I landed on the hot asphalt. Without legs to support me, I fell on my backside and received 2nd degree burns from the asphalt and the radiator fluid which had erupted from the crash.

After being in the hospital and a rehab facility for months, I was finally able to go home. However, I struggled with my limitations for many years, only leaving my wheelchair for transfers and for occasional physical therapy sessions. I had to have several revision surgeries throughout this time, which only left me sinking deeper into a dark hole. I was feeling terrible about myself when my social worker from Hanger Clinic told me about a bootcamp offered through them. I had been a Hanger Clinic patient since 2011, so I told myself I would register for the bootcamp and give it a chance.

After attending Hanger Clinic's bootcamp in Oklahoma City in April of 2015, my life as an amputee changed forever. I decided it was time to make a major mobility change in my life, so I left my wheelchair behind on June 20, 2015 and decided to become a full-time prosthetic user.

After seeing all the fantastic people at bootcamp and becoming inspired by their strength and capabilities, I made it a goal of mine to face my challenges and get up and walk! Nine years and seven months in a wheelchair had been enough! I have also made it a goal of mine to return to bootcamp every year henceforth. I have had so much support from my Hanger Clinic family, my amputee family, and the general community, and in turn am eager to help and support others who may be dealing with their own obstacles and challenges.


Pedro Pimenta, Hanger Clinic Patient Advocate

Pedro Pimenta

A typical teenager in Brazil, Pedro studied and participated in sports with his friends. He enjoyed an extensive social life and healthy lifestyle until, suddenly, he began to feel sick on September 11, 2009. No one will forget where they witnessed the tragic events of September 11th, but this day is particularly emotional for Pedro and his loved ones as he was admitted to the hospital to fight for his life.

Pedro had contracted a fatal form of meningitis that soared through his bloodstream. With slim chances that he would survive, nearly one hundred of his closest friends and family took turns saying their goodbyes. Miraculously, Pedro left the hospital alive six months and two comas later, but in exchange, had all of his limbs amputated above the elbows and knees.

People destined him to a life in the wheelchair, saying that no other amputee in his situation had successfully lived a life on prosthetics. Although frightened by this discouragement, Pedro knew that he did not want to spend the rest of his life with a wheelchair by his side.

He sought advice and guidance wherever it was available, determined to live independently. Just ten months after leaving the hospital, the strength he never knew he had emerged and he gave up the wheelchair never to sit in one again.

Today, Pedro lives independently in Florida using his prosthetics for mobility and practicality. While attending college, he inspires anyone he comes across, and shows them the strength that exists in us all. Many people today are stressed at work, dissatisfied with their lives, and generally unhappy. Pedro demonstrates to these people that we all have the power to overcome any situation in life.


​Nicole Grehn

On June 28, 2015, I suddenly collapsed in a gas station in a small Northern Wisconsin town, which was thankfully across the street from a hospital. A nearby ambulance came to my rescue in about 3 minutes, which was amazing timing considering my condition. Over the course of 36 hours, I flat lined 78 times, was induced into a coma, and was put on a machine to keep my heart beating. During my 9 day coma, my heart was only pumping at 10% and thus my limbs were not getting enough blood perfusion. To prevent septic shock and save my life, the doctors had to amputate both of my legs above the knee. That procedure saved my life and within a day, my heart starting pumping at 40% and four days later they woke me from my coma. I was a healthy, active 24 year old with no symptoms of heart failure. Three months later I found out that I have a genetic mutation in my heart for sudden cardiac death, called CPVT. Thankfully, I now have a defibrillator to act on my heart if I ever go into a bad rhythm again.

After this life changing trauma, I found Hanger Clinic and their amazing bootcamp for bilateral above knee amputees. On April 6th, 2016 I was inspired to leave my wheelchair after hearing other amputees’ amazing testimonies. I have been wheelchair free ever since, and have become part of a new family - my amputee family.

I am pursuing my education at Marquette University to get my Masters of Science in Nursing, and graduate in December of 2017. I'll be pursuing my Doctorate of Nursing Practice, in order to work as a nurse practitioner in the physical medicine and rehab field. I also mentor young amputees and children with limb differences at Camp No Limits. I want to help others in the amputee community through volunteering and my profession.

If someone came up to me today and said "Nicole, I will give you your legs back, but you will not remember the people, nor the experiences you have had after your amputation," my response would be “NO”. I would never take my legs back at the expense of the friendships I have made, the love I have received, and my clear calling and purpose in life. I wouldn't trade that for anything.


Pedro Pimenta, Hanger Clinic Patient Advocate

Toby Plasencio

Toby Plasencio lost his left leg below-the-knee as a 17-year-old in a rock climbing accident. Among his other injuries were a spine fracture, broken arm, legs and internal injuries. He spent two months in a hospital and many more months rehabilitating.

Toby picked up golf as a way to have fun and be as competitive as before the accident. Toby went on to become a golf teaching professional and the 2009 National Amputee Golf Champion. He currently is a peer visitor for Hanger Clinic. Toby lives just outside Ft. Worth, Texas, and enjoys hunting and fishing when he is not on the golf course. Toby is very enthusiastic to empower any amputee he meets to realize their potentials.



Kevin M. Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP/D

Kevin M. Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP/D

Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP/D is an accomplished healthcare professional with over 35 years as a practicing prosthetist, visionary researcher, and skilled educator. As Vice President of Prosthetics for Hanger Clinic, Carroll travels nationally and internationally presenting scientific symposiums and managing clinics for difficult prosthetic cases.

Carroll is an American Board Certified Prosthetist and has been named a Fellow with Distinction of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, one of the highest honors of the profession. He also received the honor of Doctor of Humane Letters from Quinnipiac University for his humanitarian work.

Carroll is the co-developer of the patented the Hanger Clinic ComfortFlex™ Socket System and co-developed the first prosthetic tail for Winter the Dolphin with his colleague Dan Strzempka. Winter's story debuted on September 23, 2011 in a 3D feature film titled, Dolphin Tale starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and Harry Connick, Jr. He has appeared on news broadcasts such as Dateline, 20/20, CBS Early Show, NBC Nightly News, ABC’s Good Morning America, and the Discovery Channel.


​Pola O' Rourke, CPO

​Pola O' Rourke, CPO

Pola O' Rourke, CPO is an ABC Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist. Pola graduated with high honors from the University of Ulster, Ireland with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. She attended California State University where she earned her certificate in both disciplines of Orthotics and Prosthetics.

Pola specializes in Lower Extremity Prosthetics with a focus on pediatrics. She thoroughly enjoys serving all patient populations and providing a superior level of patient care by really listening to her patients and understanding their needs. Pola lives in the Bay area with her husband and loves exploring all activities that a Northern California lifestyle has to offer.


​Taber Hammond, MSPO, CPO

​Taber Hammond, MSPO, CPO

Taber Hammond MSPO, CPO is an ABO certified Prosthetist/Orthotist. Taber graduated with honors from the University of Maine at Farmington after studying Community Health Education with a focus on Physical fitness. He also attended the University of Hartford where he earned a Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Taber specializes in both Upper Limb and Lower Limb Prosthetics with a concentration on emerging technology; including elevated vacuum systems, microprocessor controlled knees and ankles, pattern recognition technology for upper limb amputees and myoelectric control systems. Taber has developed swimming prostheses for patients with bilateral hip disarticulations and continues to push the boundaries of what is capable for patients with high level amputations.


Hector Casanova, CP, BSPO

​Hector Casanova, CP, BSPO

Hector Casanova, CP, BSPO, a prosthetic clinician with a medical illustration background, currently works for the Hanger Clinic in San Jose, California. Mr. Casanova graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics. He was a Project Officer for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission to El Salvador, where he managed a $15.5 million portfolio building comprehensive rehabilitation services for war-victims. In El Salvador he established a 3-year prosthetic training program that trained 12 Prosthetic Technicians and manufactured and delivered more than 1,000 prostheses to children and civilian amputees. He served as Vice President of Rehabilitation Technology and Innovation at the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR), in Chicago, IL., where he focused on appropriate prosthetic technology research and development; as well as blended distance learning programs for prosthetists/orthotist in the developing world.