Amputee Meets Goals and Brings Joy
Meet Optimus’ patient Sheri! Sheri is a now-retired advertising analyst, fierce Seahawks lover, and proud dog mom to her 13-year-old pup named Butta! She is also a right, above-knee amputee since October of 2018. After a bad fall that resulted in a broken femur and tibia, Sheri endured 6 months of healing in a knee immobilizer and was non-weight-bearing. Despite all efforts, she ended up being unable to bend her knee because of the number of adhesions and ultimately had to make the tough decision to amputate it. Her surgery and recovery were not easy as she ended up with four additional surgeries due to infections. While each surgery resulted in a longer wait to begin her prosthetic journey, it did not keep Sheri from a positive attitude. Her clinicians describe her as “inspirational with a never give up attitude!”
One of Sheri’s greatest accomplishments since her amputation was being able to fly to Vegas for her 50th birthday with her mom and best friend in 2019. She says she owes her strength and courage to her mom’s love and support. They are each other’s rock! In 2020, at two years post-amputation, she was able to take 10 steps and do a turn without any walking aid! Making even further progress in 2022, she was able to stand and swing a golf club in physical therapy and attended Optimus’ Annual Golf Clinic. She had this to say about Optimus, “Optimus has meant so much to me. Called me during the shutdown, checking if I needed supplies. I’m so lucky that my PT and clinician work together to help me make and meet goals!” She also gave this advice to other amputees, “I would say to any amputee what Jimmy V. shared with the world on March 4, 1993, ‘Don’t give up...don’t ever give up.’ Go to PT, do your exercises at home, keep appointments with Optimus, and lastly communicate. Communication with your therapist, doctors, and your family is key to your success!” She also noted that it is ok to “grieve the loss.”
One more special thing about Sheri is her ability to search high and low for amputee Barbie dolls to give to any child that wants one. She even drops them off at our offices for our pediatric patients to take home! It isn’t just a handful of Barbies either. During Limb Loss Awareness month in 2021, she was able to donate 50 Barbies. This year during LLAM, she was able to donate 25. She wished it had been more, but supply chain issues kept her from being able to purchase additional Barbies. Looking ahead, Sheri of course wants to keep donating amputee Barbie dolls, but she has more people she wants to help and others she wants to honor. One of Sheri’s dreams is to create a comic series for children about being an amputee where the amputation is the “superpower”. She also desires to honor her dad, who passed away one year to the date of her accident, by driving a hole at the Officer’s Club at Wright-Patterson Airforce Base. Her dad has a granite memorial with his name engraved on one of the holes.
Sheri’s passion and service-oriented perspective on life bring a lot of joy! She has brought a lot of joy to all of us at Optimus, and her life is a reminder that using your talents, giftings, abilities, and triumphs over difficulties to encourage other people results in a joyful and full life. Thank you for all you do to light up the world Sheri! We can’t wait to see all you accomplish next!
*The original article published in December of 2020 was edited in June 2022 to reflect updates on Sheri’s life and accomplishments.