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Orthotic and Prosthetic Services Help Young Gymnast Soar

With brightly colored gymnastics metals hanging off her arms, 9-year-old Zuleikha posed proudly in the hall of the Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) department. “Want me to do a handstand for a picture?” she asked. Confidence, fearlessness and energy radiate from the young girl, and it is clear she never lets anything hold her back.

Born with fibular hemimelia, or a missing fibula or calf bone, Zuleikha became a Shriners Hospitals for Children patient when she was just an infant. The hospital staff not only gave her family a diagnosis, options and support, it also offered them hope and courage for their young daughter.

Living on the West Coast at the time, Zuleikha had her amputation and knee surgery at a Shriners Hospital in California. When it was time for her family to make the move east, they made sure that they would be in driving distance of a Shriners Hospital to be able to continue her care.

“Shriners [Hospital] is an incredible support system for our family,” said her mother. “It is so relieving knowing we always have them to call for help.”

Now a patient at the Greenville Shriners Hospital, Zuleikha works with POPS to not only make her more comfortable, but also to help her excel at the things she loves.

“Greenville Shriners Hospital lets me live my dreams,” said Zuleikha. “They give me the feet I need to do the things I love, like be on my competitive gymnastics team.”

At her most recent visit, she received a prosthetic blade that will further aid her in her floor, bar and balance beam routines. By not only helping patients achieve comfort and mobility in their daily lives but also supporting their passions, the Greenville Shiners Hospital achieves its mission of helping kids be kids.

For Zuleikha, that means soaring with grace across the gym floor – and through life.

Zuleikha with gymnastics medals

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