SAN ANTONIO - The Prosthetic Foundation in San Antonio is a support group in more ways than one. It fits those in need with prosthetics to help get them on their feet so they can lead normal, active lives.
"Our foundation was formed to help these people obtain an artificial leg and get them back on their feet so they can start walking," said Dr. Daniel Tamez Jr., a vascular surgeon and member of the board of The Prosthetic Foundation.
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Getting people back on their feet is just part of the goal because, when they get there, it improves many other aspects of their lives.
"Their health is better. They can become productive, not only for themselves and their family, but the whole community," Tamez said
Prosthetics aren't cheap. A below-the-knee prosthetic is about $2,500, while a prosthetic above the knee can cost about $5,000. And insurance isn’t always there to pay the bill. That is what the foundation is all about: physical, mental and financial support.
"Just seeing the impact on these people’s lives and their family — being able to walk again and enjoy life," Tamez said.
Jennifer Rodriguez has taken advantage of The Prosthetic Foundation’s help. She has received a prosthetic for one of her legs, along with moral support.
"Their generosity is really what has given me the final bit of hope," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez was born with spina bifida. After dealing with health issues, mostly infections, and nearly dying, both of her legs were amputated — her right leg in 2015 and her left in 2017.
Rodriguez, who works in the mortgage industry, was able to afford the first prosthetic but needed help when it came to fitting and purchasing her left prosthetic. The foundation came through for her. She is in a wheelchair now, but that is not where she plans to stay.
"Hopefully, the next few months, (I’ll) be up and walking and free, and I am hoping one day to even run a marathon," Rodriguez said.
While she reaches for her goals, she also hopes to be an inspiration and to spend time promoting The Prosthetic Foundation.
"It doesn't have to be the end of the road for anyone who is facing any kind of prosthetic challenge. Actually, it is not a challenge, it's an asset. I feel like these legs are mine," Rodriguez said.
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