Patty Withrow is a charming lady living in an enchanting, stately home in Oklahoma. The multi-talented woman plays the piano and sings. She is vibrant and active. You would never know it, but this diminutive lady is an amputee.
"Learning how to adapt is so important," Patty says. "Everything in life requires it." At age 15, she learned she was diabetic and had to adapt her life around the disease. "My father always said, ‘It doesn’t matter what happens to you but how you handle it.’ Adapting is what life is all about."
While she was in the hospital following a heart attack, a wound on her foot became infected resulting in her right leg being amputated below the knee. At age 61, she had to adapt again – learning to drive and work the piano pedals with her left foot.
Today Patty’s musical gifts are used in church as she leads the Cherub Choir at her church. She treasures this time with the children and the sanctuary is packed when they sing during church services. "The children never even knew I wore a prosthesis until I had to attend church once in my wheelchair. Because of me, they have learned about amputation and prosthetics. For Thanksgiving, we talk about everything we are thankful for and we all say we are thankful for Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research for making my leg."
Not much holds Patty back. She is very active with her family, in women’s groups, her music, her church and her crafts. Her gardens show the loving care she lavishes there. "I’ll continue to adapt to life’s challenges," she adds. "And life is good."
Our daughter Cassie was born with a birth defect that left her right leg considerably shorter than the left. Her right foot was also missing several critical bones, and her ankle and lower leg bone were malformed. When the doctor recommended amputating above the ankle, we were hesitant, but the alternative was years of surgery and trying to stretch the leg out, all on the slim hope it would work. Although it was a really hard decision, we decided amputation was the best path to take.
They did the surgery when Cassie was nine months old and of course that was a difficult time for us. But then she got her first prosthesis and she did fine with it. She never tried to take it off or seemed to mind it was there. She took her first steps by herself the day before her first birthday. This year, at age 10, she finally weighed enough to get an energy storing Flex-Foot. That’s one of the things we love about Scott Sabolich Prosthetic & Research… they want to constantly improve Cassie’s prosthesis and they keep presenting us with cutting-edge technology.
Cassie is a pitcher for the Oklahoma Magic softball team, playing 80 games of fast pitch softball a year. She also enjoys rollerblading, biking, skiing and swimming. She has never, ever said, "I can’t." She is strong both physically and mentally, and has a great self-image. She’s never looked at herself as handicapped in any way and neither have we. At school she’s just like any other kid.
Cassie was featured on "Nick News" on cable television’s Nickelodeon in a story about kids with artificial limbs. It was a fun experience, but she’s still not sure what all the fuss is about. In her mind, she’s an ordinary girl. "I don’t even think about my leg," Cassie says. "It’s easy to forget it’s there."
As parents, we are totally optimistic about her future and believe there’s no limit to what she can accomplish. And even though she’s only 10, Cassie is thinking ahead. "I still don’t know whether to be a prosthetist or a veterinarian when I grow up," Cassie says. "If I were a prosthetist, I could help kids that are my age now, and I would have had the experience to know just what they need. That would be great."