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news News Monday, July 2, 2018 Monday, July 2, 2018 7:56 PM - Monday, July 2, 2018 7:56 PM

Alissa knows no limits

Alissa knows no limits
Ali giving two thumbs up

Alissa (Ali) was born with fibular hemimelia, a rare disorder that presents with shortening or absence of one of the two bones in the calf. The disorder may require bone-lengthening procedures or amputation. Ali’s parents, Tara and Mark, were overwhelmed by the decisions they needed to make following her birth, and local specialists were not able to provide answers to their questions. Ali’s great-grandmother, whose father was a Shriner, suggested they look into Shriners Hospitals for Children. She was sure Shriners Hospitals for Children would take care of Alissa.

A search on the internet led them to a Shriners Hospitals for Children website, Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The website supports a PGA TOUR golf tournament that is held in Las Vegas annually, close to where the family lives. At a golf clinic during tournament week, the family met Katie Walker, a former Shriners Hospitals for Children patient (and college golfer) who has a prosthetic leg. Katie was happy to share her experiences at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospital (now Shriners for Children Medical Center). She told them all about the family-centered care, individualized physical therapy and customized prosthetics provided by the hospital. Soon after that meeting, Ali had an above-ankle amputation of the left leg at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospital, and received her first prosthesis before her 1st birthday.

Ali is now 8 years old and has just completed the third grade. She is a straight-A student who loves singing, music, reading, art and sports – lots of sports including basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, and track and field.

Ali recently competed with athletes of all ages from all over the world in the Desert Challenge Games in Arizona. She competed in eight events (60m, 100m, 200m, long jump, discus, javelin, shot-put and archery) and received gold medals in all. Ali set new personal records in every event and broke some national records. What an accomplishment!

“She was able to do all this because of those supporting and believing in her, making legs for her, encouraging her, inspiring her, loving her, coaching her,” said Tara. “Ali has always been encouraged by everyone we have met through Shriners Hospitals for Children.”

Ali continues to set new goals. She dreams of becoming a Paralympian and representing Team USA, as well as becoming a singer and an actress. There is no doubt Ali will achieve all she sets out to do.

Ali participating in long jump and discus