What's Good in the Neighborhood: Finding Symmetry

An inspiring group of amputees is finding balance and getting back in the stride of their lives; all because of two local doctors with a revolutionary dream to create a fully computerized prosthetic.

I had the chance to take the first steps as these patients bridge the gap between mobility and immobility.

"I'm 48-years-old, I want to walk. I want to go back to work, at least part time, I still have a life out there," MaryJane said, full of vigor and hope.

MaryJane Vachon was born with Polio, bound by leg-braces and wheelchairs. In 2004, she became an amputee.

"It was very traumatic to have to go to an above knee amputation. It's difficult walking, more strain on the heart."

Traditional prosthetics simply did not work.

"Never could walk, always felt it was so heavy. I went to physical therapy, but got to a point, at times, I could walk with one crutch, but it wasn't a very long distance."

Then she found Symmetry.

"It has, I believe, truly revolutionized the practice of prosthetics," Dr. David Alford said.

The dictionary defines symmetry as a form of balance. Whether it's playing ball with your kids again or the simple act of walking down the stairs, this local company puts your life back in balance.

"I put it on and oh my God," MaryJane cried, "this is just amazing and I actually walked out of here pushing my wheelchair."

MaryJane isn't the only success story of this Wiregrass enterprise, 15 years ago, Sgt. 1st Class Dana Bowman, a decorated member of the U.S. Army's Golden Knights lost both legs in a mid-air collision.

"He has tried every know device to wear and came to Dothan to find the very best in the world," Dr. Alford said.

Nine months later, Sgt. Bowman became the first double-amputee to re-enlist. Since then he's completed more than 1,000 jumps.

"To be able to improve on that quality of life for someone who was so handicapped, it has been very gratifying," Dr. Alford said.

"They are wonderful. I couldn't speak enough about these people and what they've done," MaryJane said. "It's really amazing that I'm walking...I'm ready to roll! I'm ready to get up on that floor and I'm going to dance," she said.

The doctors of Symmetry work with patients' insurance and absorb all additional cost, making sure people like Vachon and Sgt. Bowman never pay a penny for their prosthetic.

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  • by Chris Location: All over on Oct 31, 2009 at 03:38 PM
  • by Phil Location: Ozark on Oct 31, 2009 at 03:35 PM
    Great work Skylar. This story is an inspiration!
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