On November 2014, mother of two, Amanda Flores Bordoy was diagnosed with the flu after suffering from aches and a terrible sore throat. It wasn't long before her symptoms worsened and she was rushed to the hospital where they discovered she had undiagnosed strep throat, leading to sepsis—a condition in which the kidneys begin to shut down after the immune system is overwhelmed from infection.
Amanda's blood stopped flowing to her limbs. To save her life, doctors had to amputate all four of her limbs. During this time, her now-husband, Frank Bordoy, stood beside her without hesitation. Just one month after Amanda's amputations took place, he got down on one knee and proposed. Amanda quickly said yes, but only if she could walk down the aisle. A key part of Amanda’s recovery and journey to becoming a full-time prosthetics user was attending Hanger Clinic’s BAKA Bootcamp for the first time in 2017. This special event lit a fire in her and gave her the tools she needed to learn to walk independently. On August 11, 2018, Amanda did exactly what she sought out to do and walked down the aisle to the man of her dreams.
Now Amanda volunteers as a peer ambassador, investing in and encouraging other people with limb loss to achieve their mobility goals and life dreams.
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 12 years. Before my amputations, I was an elementary school principal and taught for 18 years prior to that. I was a busy mother of four 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 methamphetamines hit me from behind, pinning me between my vehicle and his, severing my legs upon impact. Once the responders were able to separate the vehicles, I landed on the hot asphalt. Without legs to support me, I fell on my backside and received second-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 boot camp offered through them. I had been a Hanger Clinic patient since 2011, so I told myself I would register for the boot camp and give it a chance.
After attending Hanger Clinic's boot camp 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 boot camp 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 boot camp every year henceforth. I have had so much support from my Hanger Clinic family, my amputee family, and the general community, and in turn I am eager to help and support others who may be dealing with their own obstacles and challenges.
I'm hoping that by seeing what I'm doing and by seeing how far I've come in my journey, they can see that they can do it as well. It is possible to get up again.
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. An ambulance came to my rescue in about three minutes, which was amazing timing. 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 nine-day coma, my heart was only pumping at 10 percent 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 percent and four days later they woke me from my coma. I was a healthy, active 24-year-old woman 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 boot camp for bilateral above-knee amputees. On April 6, 2016, I was inspired to leave my wheelchair after hearing other people's amazing testimonies. I have been wheelchair-free ever since, and have become part of a new family – my amputee family.
I graduated in December 2017 from Marquette University with a Master's of Science in nursing. I'll be pursuing my Doctor 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.
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 Sept. 11, 2009, and was admitted to a 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 100 of his closest friends and family took turns saying their goodbyes. Miraculously, Pedro left the hospital six months and two comas later, but with 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 with 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. He inspires anyone he comes across, and shows them the strength that exists in us all. Pedro demonstrates that we all have the power to overcome any situation in life.
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, he travels nationally and internationally presenting scientific symposiums and managing clinics for difficult prosthetic cases.
Kevin 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.
Kevin 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 Sept. 23, 2011, in a 3D feature film, "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.
Nancy Snyder, LCPO
Nancy Snyder, LCPO, has been working with bilateral above-knee patients and their rehabilitation since 2009. Over the past 15 years, she has taken a deeper interest in helping female amputees overcome challenges they face in regards to anatomy, physical, social and emotional well-being. This has grown and extended into the realm of female bilateral above-knee amputees by helping them resolve and embrace the road that lies ahead of them.
Nancy earned her orthotics certification at Northwestern University Medical School in 1999 and prosthetic certification in 2000. She has been with the Hanger Clinic family since 1996 and developed the pediatric program in Gainesville, Georgia, and has presented at a variety of leadership and learning classes in her local area.
Matthew Luetke, CPO
Matthew Luetke, CPO, is the Area Clinic Manager of Hanger Clinic at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Matt completed orthotic and prosthetic studies at Northwestern University School of Medicine and has practiced for 18 years, specializing in lower and upper limb prostheses. His area of expertise is working with trauma and pediatric amputees as well as bilateral above-knee amputees. Matt frequently lectures to therapists, case managers, and physician residents.