Today, I’d like you to meet Nancy Belle, a 16yr old ExoSym (IDEO) patient from Georgia, who I had the pleasure of meeting (along with her amazing mom ☺) when we were all at the clinic this past September. Nancy Belle was born with clubfoot, a condition that has restricted her from being able to run or even stand for long periods of time because of the pain in her feet. However, clubfoot hasn’t stopped Nancy Belle from trying. Despite the pain, this girl has remained an active volleyball player and pole vaulter for her high school. #yougogirl But, Nancy Belle admits there have been plenty of times when she has come home from practice and her feet hurt so bad, she could barely get out of bed or walk downstairs to the car. Nancy’s mom, who is an avid runner, has seen the difficulties her daughter has faced firsthand and has been determined to help her live a better quality of life. When her mom found out about the ExoSym devices through the Hanger Clinic, Nancy Belle didn’t want to get her hopes up but she agreed to give it a try – and thank goodness she did! (Way to go mom!) ☺
Through the process, Nancy Belle says she’s met some amazing people and feels very thankful there is a community of ExoSym patients with whom she can relate. #neveralone One morning during her stay, NB and her mom had gone downstairs for breakfast in their hotel and saw a few people with the ExoSym device on. She says as soon as they saw hers, they welcomed her to the table to eat with them. Nancy says it was so nice that they would ask her to sit with them, without even knowing her, and open up about their story. She remembers noticing how everyone, even though they were from different states or countries and walks of life, talked as if they were friends. That’s when she first knew how special these devices were and how wonderful the people are. ♡ #exosymplyamazing
NB’s most memorable moment in the device was the end of therapy hike with Jared, the physical therapist. It was very steep, sandy, and seemingly impossible – something she would never think of attempting before, but she says Jared was calm and guided her through the cliff-like hike! When they went down to the water, there was a tree that she wanted to get on, so she climbed up it and crawled out on the limb. Her mom instinctively put her arms out to help her down and Nancy almost grabbed them, but then she remembered she had her ExoSym devices on and jumped down all by herself! Before the ExoSym, NB couldn’t think about jumping down because her feet would hurt too much, but with the devices, she jumped down and continued the hike with no pain! #simplyamazing ☺ Both NB & her mom couldn’t be happier and they are so thankful to Mr. Ryan Blanck for his kindness and compassion. The ExoSym device and stay in Gig Harbor is truly a unique and special program and NB says she left knowing that anything is possible.
Though Nancy Belle has only had her devices since September, she says it’s amazing what a transformation she has already made. Before the devices, she would have to think about over walking or compensating when her feet hurt and now with the ExoSym, she can do anything! NB says a 5K race is definitely in her future! Because of her condition, NB has never run farther than a mile in her entire life, but now with the ExoSym, she says this dream will be possible. How cool for NB to finally be able to run in a race with her mom? (I may need to travel to Georgia to be there for this! ☺)
NB’s shoe brand of choice is New Balance but she also likes her Nike Air Force One’s which she pairs with jeans, skirts and dresses! She loves wearing tall, high knee socks with the device and says she is looking forward to trying more socks and shoes.
NB wants other clubfoot patients to know that these devices can truly help you to do things you never thought possible. She once ran up and down her driveway (which is not long) about three times, and her foot hurt so bad, she was in a boot for about a week. Now, she can go for a walk or a run in her neighborhood without being in pain. #socool NB says no one is born without some sort of issue to deal with and she is appreciative that hers can be fixed with the ExoSym device. Sometimes, she admits she can get down about her condition, but then she reminds herself, “Why be sad? Nothing can change it.” #positivemindset NB’s advice is to make the best of your situation and work with whatever you have. She’s had so much fun shopping for clothes to wear with her device and although finding shoes is a little difficult, when she found the right ones, she was very excited! NB is so happy to be able to do things she’s never been able to do before, like run and walk around for a long time with her friends! #thelittlethingsinlife
An amazing girl with such a positive attitude. A reminder that though the world is full of difficulties, it is also full of people who have overcome them. ♡
#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAmazing