Sometimes, you meet a patient that just inspires you. That's the case with 13-year old Kaleb Merola. Born with a condition that left him with one of his shin bones shorter or absent, he underwent several procedures to try and correct the problem before he and his parents determined last year that amputation left him with the best opportunity for a mobile, active life. In making that decision, he became one of the very few people under the age of 17 to undergo amputation – of the roughly 600 new amputees in Maine each year, more than 80% are between 45 and 80 years of age.
Since his amputation, we have fitted him for a prosthesis and guided him through rehabilitation, and he has embraced the process of adjusting to his new life as an amputee. He has made great strides, pun intended. A baseball fan, he nearly made his middle school baseball team this year (and he has had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Portland SeaDogs game). Kaleb's spirit and determination are one of the reasons we're sponsoring him at Camp No Limits this year. This great organization provides education, mentorship, and support for children with limb loss and differences, and fosters a welcoming and supportive community in the hopes of helping all those who attend the camp and their families.
Kaleb's story shines a light on how amputation, though life-altering, can be life-enhancing for those whose mobility was previously limited. And getting to help patients discover that, each in their own way, inspires us every day.