During a recent photo shoot in New York I found myself in a Starbucks, where a completely coincidental meeting changed my life forever — by making it possible for me to walk comfortably again.
Dr. Andrew Pedtke, the CEO of a young and innovative startup in San Francisco approached my table; intrigued by my prosthesis and camera on the side, where he introduced himself and the vision behind his Company LIM Innovations®. Ever since my motorcycle accident in August 2003 I had always felt the need to hide my prosthesis after catching several judgmental looks cast in my direction. Something about Andy was unique, from the way he sat down and took a genuine interest in my life.
I was invited to travel with Andrew to meet with Infinite Socket™ wearers along the East Coast, where I was able to witness first-hand the new lease of life that the dynamic socket has given amputees. Through the eye of my lens I captured the vastly different lifestyle adopted by #LIMLegends who bear the adjustable socket that captures muscle volume fluctuation.
From meeting former Italian fighter pilot Claudio Cappabianca and inspirational student mother Irene Blum in New York, I travelled with Andy to Florida to meet Pam Selinski at ‘The Villages’ monthly meeting. Each individual I met had their own reason for craving the Infinite Socket™. Pam wanted the comfort to play basketball with her Grandchildren in the park, Claudio wanted support to walk in the wild for long periods of time and Irene needed the adjustability to cope with her frequently fluctuating limb. These stories were conveyed by everyday people who wanted to participate in everyday activities.
It was then I realized the extent of the discomfort on my distal end of the limb, aggravated by walking days on end with little time out of the socket. One continuous theme mentioned by all the #LIMLegends I interviewed was that we had already gone through so much pain; why should we suffer more because of an uncomfortable socket? Right there and then I decided my next socket was going to be an Infinite Socket™. I travelled to San Francisco where the in-house clinician cast my residual limb and produced a finished product within 48 hours. From the moment I tried it on, everything changed! My confidence was boosted to new heights and I wanted to walk everywhere; the comfort and control I had over my gait was unparalleled. I felt like I could tackle any task and what better way to test this than by walking up the steep hill next to the iconic ‘painted ladies.’
The hill was steeper than anything in Paris, so this was a new challenge for me. I approached the slope with a new vigor and an eagerness I haven’t felt since before my accident. With two clicks of the ratchet the brim was tight around my limb, and I was off with the suction supporting my every stride. I have had many sockets over the years, but the dynamic structure of the Infinite Socket™ was able to provide me comfort beyond comparison.
To top it off, I don’t hesitate to show-off my prosthesis which, with the most unreal composite parts and bionic inspired elements combine to look great through my lens and feels comfortable, supportive and totally dynamic.