'Rob Murphy experimenting
with prototype dive legs
only 4 months after his accident!!!'
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As I was coming out of the lab, I noticed a young lady at the sign in desk. Hmm, looks like a teenager… too able bodied to be a patient… “Great”, I thought, just when Bette was out on an errand.
I sighed and started walking up to see what they were selling. She wasn’t dressed like she was selling something; skin tight stretch jeans, bright pink shoe laced high tops, long curly black hair. She was leaning on the counter with most of her weight on one leg. Her other leg was bent at the knee and she was playfully rolling her leg back and forth on the toe of that pink high top.
She must have heard me because she turned and flashed me a bright white smile. Just as I started to ask her what I could do for her, she yells “Matt”! I tried to play it off while my brain scrambled to remember who this was… I never forget a face. 
She smiled again and then shyly asked me if I could look at her leg… it was losing suction.
“AneMary!?” I said. Wow, what a difference a year makes. I hadn’t seen her since just after her the last round of Chemo, about a year ago… too long for a growing kid.
“Come on back”, I said. “How have you been”?
She caught me up on everything, chemo, the wig, school, her activities. I could not believe the transformation. She was right at that age where little girls become young adults. I knew what she would want to ask me once I fixed the suction: “How can I make the prosthesis less visible under my cloths?”
I was never so glad to hear that question.
When I started with AneMary, she had just lost her leg. The caring Orthopedic Oncologist in Miami, Dr. Thomas Temple explained to the family that it was the only way to save her life. Emotionally, she was remarkably strong for a girl her age and I suspect it was because she had to be.
When we were finally able to get started, AneMary took right too the leg. I used one of my proprietary suction designs and it worked great. She looked up at herself in the mirror and I saw that bright smile of hers. The next time I saw her, she just walked in.. no walker, no canes…
Then I didn’t see her for a while. She had to go into one of the Children’s Hospitals for another round of chemo.
Every time I saw AneMary, I was struck by how she was so happy in the face of so much adversity. She was from an immigrant family from Haiti, had cancer, lost her leg and was still a happy, shy girl with a positive outlook. She was always thankful and a little embarrassed by the attention and caring… like she more used to being the one to give.
You may think we gave a lot to her, but she gave more to us.
I am sorry to report that AneMary’s cancer came back and she did not survive it but her glow and shy smile live on in our hearts. God speed, AneMary.

  • AneMary
  • AneMary