More than one hundred people came together for a 5K fun run Saturday night (Sept. 14) in Clarksville to help a local woman make her dream come true.
"I've always had a dream of being able to run long distance," said Clarksville native Lindsay Sims. "I never really thought I'd be able to, even after the amputation."
Sims was born with a condition called proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD) which left one of her legs shorter than the other. Doctors predicted Sims would never walk, but by ten months old, Sims said she beat the odds and was walking without assistance.
Sims grew up using a brace which added length to her leg. She said she was an active kid and liked sports but was not able to run.
Sims said her community was very supportive growing up, and it wasn't until she traveled to other schools for activities or other unfamiliar places that she felt insecure about her prosthetic.
"When I would go to parties or a get-together with my family or my friends and there was people there that I didn't know, I would sit in the car for hours because I didn't want them to see me," she said.
After high school, Sims joined the workforce. She said once she began working 40 hours per week, she began to experience pain in the ankle and knee of her shorter leg.
Through extensive research and consultations with multiple doctors, Sims decided on amputating her shorter leg at the knee.
"When I had my amputation, I didn't think anyone would want someone with one leg," said Sims. "They wouldn't think I was pretty or I could carry a child."
Sims did go on to get married and together, they had a daughter. Still, Sim's insecurities about her prosthetic caused her to keep her leg covered. She eventually began to wonder what message she was sending her daughter by hiding her prosthetic.
"One night I prayed about it, and then the next morning I woke up and I was a different person," said Sims. "As soon as I woke up, I went and put shorts on for the first time in eight years."
Once she began to accept her self, Sims decided to chase her lifelong dream of becoming a runner. However, her current leg is not built to withstand running so she will need a special "running leg" to help her meet her goal of running the Johnson County Peach Festival four-mile run in her hometown in 2014.
"This leg that I have is just an every day walking leg," Sims said. "It helps me get from point A to point B as far as bringing in groceries, taking care of my child, doing everyday house mom and wife things."
Licensed prosthetist and orthotist, Mike Horton, said there are a number of differences between Sims' current leg and the "running leg," beginning with the foot.
"The foot that she'll be running on is basically a long curve, almost like a 'C' or a 'J,'" said Horton. "It's designed to deflect a lot and then bounce back up. Almost like a diving board."
Insurance companies will not foot the $10,000 bill for a "running leg," according to Sims, because it is deemed a "want" and not a "need." However, she is determined to make her dream a reality.
According to her Facebook fan page, Sims has raised more than $6,000 for her "running leg." Sims hopes to raise the full amount raised by December so she can begin training for her race.
Sims is a board member with an amputee support group based in North Little Rock, called Amputees Beyond Life's Expectations (A.B.L.E.). She said the group meets every two months, and she encourages amputees or anyone facing an amputation to contact the group.