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Alissa's Story

Alissa's Story

Alissa Sizemore's life is changed after an accident and wonders if she'll ever be able to dance again. Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City answers her question.
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Alyssa:

My leg is a little bit difficult because mine's metal instead of this.

Heather:

Last year, Alyssa was in an accident with a delivery truck. It severed her foot. We got life-flighted out here to Primary's. Her surgeon was Dr. Heflin. He was able to save most of her leg, and finish the amputation below the knee.

Dr. John Heflin:

Following the injury, clearly she was going to need some sort of orthotic type care. And so I referred her actually over here to Shriners Hospital. The prosthetics and orthotics department here is fantastic for all comers. But she had a very special situation in that she had an unusual amputation. The orthotics and prosthetics team here were able to actually build her a prosthesis that protected the skin graft. And ultimately she was able to go on and heal it completely.

Nate Sprunger:

When I first met Alyssa, she had just had the amputation, the accident had just happened. She was very timid and scared. So I kind of sat down and talked to her, and I asked her what she wanted to do, or what she did. All she wanted do was dance. So I told her it might take some time, but we would get her back dancing.

Alyssa:

When I was at Primary Children's, I didn't think I was going to dance again. But then when I was here, and got my leg, I knew I was going to be able to dance again.

Nate Sprunger:

So when we start seeing these kids, we develop a relationship with them. Normally, that will last through their 21st birthday, every six months to a year, depending on how fast they grow, and whether they need a new leg or just an adjustment.

Alyssa:

When I usually come and meet with Nate, we goof around. He usually adjusts his ankle piece, takes it back and walks on it. And then he makes me walk. And then he makes me run. Then we did first cartwheel competition. 

Nate Sprunger:

I have to go first. All right. 

Alyssa:

Hey, that was perfect than me. 

Nate Sprunger:

Mine was little bit more graceful. 

Alyssa:

When you go up stairs, it's not like a normal hospital, there was a play area. And then when you walk, there's Sully and his partner, so it's fun.

Heather:

It's took time and she's learned new ways of doing things. But it's just like precious to still be able to watch her go and ride her bike, and have fun with her friends, and go back dancing. It's just overwhelming joy that it hasn't held her back or stopped her because of the help that Shriners has been able to give us.

Nate Sprunger:

The most rewarding part of the job is when you see that child, like Alyssa, take her first steps after she's been in the hospital, and undergone all these surgeries and her rehabilitation. And I get to be there when she gets her life back.