Today, I’d like you to meet Hanger Clinic, ExoSym (IDEO) device patient, Kate, an incredible humanitarian whose life has been dedicated to the service of others. I was fortunate enough to have met Kate on a trip to the clinic a few years ago and we’ve stayed friends ever since. An amazing person whose story reminds us that in every challenge, lies perspective and the ability to rise again.
In January 2013, while working in a remote part of the South Sudan, Kate severely injured her foot and ankle requiring medical evacuation back to the United States. After numerous surgeries, Kate was ultimately sent to the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, WA to try the ExoSym device. In September 2014, Kate received the ExoSym, a life changing technology, which has allowed her to pursue her dreams as a PA student at MEDEX Northwest, University of Washington’s School of Medicine where she plans to specialize in emergency medicine.
Thanks to the ExoSym device, just a few weeks ago, Kate was able to stand and scrub in for a six hour open heart surgery. She’s returned to the mountains and training others in outdoor emergency courses and is back living life to the fullest. On any given day, (when Kate’s not busy studying ☺) you’ll find her working out at her local boot camp, hiking, walking, biking, or running! Most recently, Kate climbed Camp Muir (10,080 ft) on Mt. Rainier with a fully loaded pack. #exosymplyamazing But that’s not all. Kate still plans to do the world’s largest horse race across Mongolia as well as bike from Seattle to Portland this summer. Ultimately, Kate hopes to get back to humanitarian work in remote places – a passion that lives within her. For Kate, inspiring others that your biggest hardships don’t have to define you is a mission she lives daily. Obstacles may reroute you in life, but they only stop you if you let them. ♥
Kate’s advice for other patients is to know that you are more than your injuries and setbacks. Do not let a piece of carbon fiber or perceived or real limitations define you or the way you relate with the world except to be more patient with the struggles of others, more compassionate, and more driven to surpass obstacles and hurdles as they appear. When you receive your device, remember there is an incredible amount of acceptance and hard work that has to happen after a serious injury. Healing takes patience, time, and the support of people around you. Your resilience will be tested. But it is a test. Try to use setbacks or moments of medical discouragement as a springboard for challenging yourself and the prognosis. Most of all, despite pain or setbacks, remember that few get through life unscathed. For Kate, having seen immense suffering in places like the South Sudan and Haiti, she knows how lucky she is (& how lucky we all truly are).
Kate feels profoundly inspired by the people she has met at the Hanger Clinic and says training alongside patients with such diverse experiences and life stories has certainly changed her for the better. But perhaps one of the most influential outcomes of receiving the ExoSym device is the impact the Hanger Clinic team has had on Kate’s life. In Kate’s words, “If I can be half of the patient care provider Ryan Blanck is, I would consider that great success. Ryan’s commitment to everyone he meets is as inspiring as it gets in medicine. Ryan, Jared, and Koreen change the lives of each and every patient that walks in through those doors in Gig Harbor. They have literally scooped me off of the floor on a bad day. I am where I am today because of these three remarkable people and providers.”
An amazing testament to the dedication of the Hanger Clinic team – a remarkable group of people who truly change lives every single day. To enter the doors of the Hanger Clinic is to become like family and to know this team is to know compassion, care, and commitment. Empowering human potential isn’t just a company motto, it’s who they are. ♥
Thank you, Kate, for what you do to inspire others and for helping us all to remember that we are more than our injuries and setbacks. You can’t change what happens to you in life, but you can decide how you will get back up again – the choice is yours. Obstacles only stop you if you let them.
#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAmazing