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news News Monday, January 25, 2021 Monday, January 25, 2021 2:06 PM - Monday, January 25, 2021 2:06 PM

Former patient wants others to know they're not alone

Former patient wants others to know they're not alone

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville will always hold a special place in Terry’s heart. After all, it’s where his passion for helping kids learn to use prosthetics and orthotics began nearly 30 years ago.

Terry started coming to the Greenville Shriners Hospital when he was 13. “I had many weight-bearing issues that consistently caused my left leg to go out on me, which really interfered with my quality of life.” So, the avid hunter and sports fanatic made the decision to undergo amputation below the knee on his left leg. He was 15.

Terry was no stranger to such an operation. Born with neither a tibia nor a fibula bone in his right leg, Terry had it amputated above the knee shortly after birth. The decision to amputate his left leg meant he would become a bi-lateral amputee.

Terry worked closely with Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services – Southeast, LLC, at the Greenville Shriners Hospital to find the right prosthetics for his lifestyle, then went off to college and began working at a grocery store chain. That, Terry said, is when his life changed forever. 

“One weekend, I broke my prosthetic leg in half and had to find a local shop that could fix it quickly. That shop ended up offering me a job where I could learn the business and talk with local amputees about their experiences.”

He never looked back.

Now a licensed pedorthist, certified orthotic fitter and certified orthotist and prosthetist assistant, Terry works at a company in Tennessee called Anchor Brace and Limb, where he runs weekly wound care clinics and draws on his own story to help others navigate life after amputation.

“The phenomenal care I received at Shriners [Hospitals] so many years ago has shaped the way I treat my own patients. I learned how to make everyone who comes in my office feel more comfortable and at ease,” Terry said.

And when he’s not caring for people who rely on prosthetics and orthotics? Terry enjoys the most active lifestyle possible. “I’m usually on my legs for 16 hours a day. Right now, I’m working to start a group called Antlers for Amputees, where I’ll take kids who have undergone amputation or struggle with other disabilities hunting and fishing.”

He and his wife also spend plenty of time keeping up with their two kids. “My daughter wants to follow in my footsteps and become a licensed orthotist and prosthetist, too,” Terry said.

Terry and his family aren’t just passionate about prosthetics and orthotics. They want to give back to anyone who’s ever received treatment at the Greenville Shriners Hospital.

That’s why they created a new tradition – delivering a car full of Build-A-Bear toys to our hospital during the holidays. Now every child who undergoes surgery here has something to remind them that they’re not alone – and just like Terry, they can grow up to live out their dreams, too.