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Therapist Makes Prosthetic Leg from Legos

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- An occupational therapist in St. Louis, Missouri is putting a whole new twist on being an amputee. In fact, she's made a prosthetic leg out of Legos.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- An occupational therapist in St. Louis, Missouri is putting a whole new twist on being an amputee.
In fact, she's made a prosthetic leg out of Legos.  Her inspiring story and positive message has gone viral.

At Washington University's Assisted Technology Lab, they're training people the proper way to use their arms when they can no longer use their legs.

"Our participants are new wheelchair users."  Christina Stephens is an Occupational therapist. She specializes in Wheelchair biomechanics
"Basically what happens is that people are not taught the proper way to push and so they start pushing in a way that's bad."

Her colleagues describe the 31-year-old South St. Louis resident this way.
"Skilled, hands on, passionate."
Her clients say, she understands what they're going through.

"It was January 2013.  I was working on my car, changing my brakes." When all of a sudden, the car slipped off the tire jack and all 2900 pounds came crashing down on her right foot.
"Believe it or not it didn't really hurt that bad...and that's because I damaged some nerves in my foot," Stephens recalls.

As soon as her husband was able to free her foot, he rushed her to the hospital. In addition to the nerve damage-her foot was broken in 8 different places. As the days passed, it just never healed properly.
"I was frustrated that I had to be with that foot all the time."

Doctors said it would take multiple surgeries to save it and even then they couldn't guarantee a functional outcome. So Christina opted for amputation.
"I knew that a prosthetic with a good energy storing foot would probably enable me to lead a more functional life."

Months later, she says her body may have changed, but her quality of life hasn't.

And the therapist in her decided that someone might benefit from her experience..she started sharing her story on the web.
"It's actually really hard to describe exactly what it feels like to walk on a prosthetic leg.   I couldn't find anything that ran the whole spectrum from getting your prosthetic and beyond and so I decided to start making those videos."

"And I think she's doing it in different ways to capture people's attention to get the information out," says Kerri Morgan, an occupational therapist.

After posting them on YouTube and Facebook under the name Amputee OT, her rather unique take on things, helped her develop a small following. Then with one 5 minute video she went viral.
"One of my colleagues said you should really build a leg out of Legos, that would be cool. And I thought, man that would be cool."

So Christina went to work. Using skills she learned as a child, she spent 45 minutes one day and an hour fifteen the next to build a prosthetic leg out of Legos.
"It's really more conceptual than functional I would say," Christina admits.

The time lapse video quickly had more than a million views and it helped support her larger goal. To de-stigmatize amputation.
"People are afraid of amputees and stumps, it's scary.  I hope those videos will make them less afraid."

The human spirit isn't as fragile as the human body. It can be sewn back together with the thread of determination.

"I think it's just important to give people a different perspective that having a disability doesn't mean that your life has to stop."

So Christina Stephens continues her work in the lab and online - helping us all to see that even when you lose a limb, with the right attitude, you'll be amazed with what you can find.
"That makes me feel like I'm doing what I should be doing."


(Mike Bush, KSDK for CNN)

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