Skip to navigation

What we're up to

news News Monday, April 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 3:04 PM - Monday, April 15, 2019 3:04 PM

New prosthetic legs for Rilynn

Rilynn has more confidence, just in time for kindergarten!

New prosthetic legs for Rilynn

Rilynn was born with tibial hemimelia, which means that her tibia bone (lower leg) in both legs was shortened or absent. Immediately after she was born, Rilynn’s parents began researching where she could receive the best care for this rare condition. Just six months later, Rilynn became a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland.

“When we started learning more about the Portland Shriners Hospital, we realized that they’re the specialists in treating Rilynn’s condition, and we knew right away that we had to come here,” said Janell, Rilynn’s mom.

They made the trek from Port Orchard, Washington, to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, and met with Michael Aiona, M.D. “He’s brilliant,” said Janell. “Right away, he had a plan for us, which was just incredible. We’re so grateful to have him.”

“One of the most amazing things about this place is the people,” said Janell. “On one of our first visits, I met someone who had a daughter at about the same age, and their family was kind of going through the same emotions. We immediately bonded, and now they’re really good friends of ours! It’s an amazing place to connect with other people who can really relate to you.”

When Rilynn was old enough to walk, she received her first pair of stubbies, which are hard sockets that level her legs and allow her to walk, but do not have a prosthetic knee or foot. Children who are just beginning to walk on prosthetic legs start the learning process in stubbies. With stubbies, children are closer to the ground, making the distance from falling shorter and less intimidating to small kids. Her stubbies had a design reflecting her favorite Disney character – The Little Mermaid!

Now Rilynn is 5 years old, and she is getting ready to start kindergarten this fall. She decided that she wanted to have “tall legs” in order to be the same height as her peers. Rilynn and her family worked with certified orthotist/prosthetist Sabrina to create conventional prosthetic legs that have articulated knees and distinguished feet. Last week, Rilynn was able to take them home! Once again, Rilynn chose The Little Mermaid as the design on her prosthetic legs.

“I’m going shoe shopping!” said Rilynn after we asked her what activity she is most excited to do in her new prosthetic legs.

“She’s asking everyone she knows to take her shoe shopping,” said Nicholas, Rilynn’s dad. “She’s going to end up with the most shoes of anyone I know!”

“Everyone at the Portland Shriners Hospital listens to her,” said Janell. “I’m completely confident and comfortable here – but Rilynn is also comfortable here, and that’s what’s most important.”

Next up, Rilynn and her family are heading to California this summer to give her new prosthetic legs a test! Down the road, Janell expects that Rilynn might also want to try running. We can’t wait to see all the adventures that lie ahead for her!

View a recent KGW News story about Rilynn.

Rilynn wearing stubbies