GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A brother and sister-in-law living with limb loss say it's important to share their stories for Amputation Awareness Month while getting ready for the area's first 5k Walk-Run-Roll & Family Education Day.
Kyle Thering, 30, is an amputee after getting run over by a truck when he was 13. After years of chronic pain and roughly 13 surgeries, he made the decision to amputate. He said, other than finding the occasional toy in his prosthetic leg, it was the best decision of his life.
“I have two kids at home and I can actually run and chase my kids around,” Thering said.
Thering says his ability to find a fresh start is thanks to Hanger Clinic in Grand Rapids. The clinic engineers prosthetics for people dealing with limb loss, known for helping build Winter the dolphin’s prosthetic fin, seen in the movie, Dolphin’s Tale. Thearing’s sister-in-law, Nikki Stoner, also works at Hanger Clinic and helps people adjust to life after losing a limb.
“I have been an amputee since 1994. I lost my leg due to a hunting accident on the first day of rifle season,” Stoner said. “This is my dream job and it drives me every day to help somebody.”
To help raise awareness for limb loss, Hanger Clinic is partnering with Kentwood Parks and Recreation Adaptive Sports for a 5K Walk-Run-Roll & Family Education Day, Saturday April 28th at Bowen Station Park. Stoner is running the event from behind the scenes and says she’s looking forward to joining the race next year. As for Kyle, the race is a turning page and fresh start.
“I’m really excited because this will be the first time that I’ve ran since the accident in 2001,” Thearing said.
Nearly 100 people have already registered. Click this link for more details or to sign up for the race.