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news News Thursday, July 11, 2019 Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:45 PM - Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:45 PM

Once a Shriners Hospital patient, now a leader in prosthesis community

Competitive athlete also has her own nonprofit organization

Once a Shriners Hospital patient, now a leader in prosthesis community

Hope lives up to her name. Despite her own experience with limb loss, she advocates for those who have experienced amputation throughout the globe.

Hope was born with bilateral clubfeet. The more severe right foot was turned in and upside down. At two weeks old she started coming to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City for treatment. The doctors started stretching her foot followed by weekly castings. One leg was more stubborn in resisting the treatment and at 3 months of age, she had her first surgery. Over the years her treatment continued, including over 20 surgeries, stretching, casting, braces and help with pain management. At the age of 18, Hope had a leg lengthening procedure using the Ilizarov method with application of the Ilizarov apparatus. The apparatus is an external circular fixation device, which required daily adjustments for over two years. Hope's leg was successfully lengthened by 2½ inches. However, though the lengthening was successful, the pain in her leg continued. In June 2002, Hope had her 30th surgery, to amputate her leg below the knee.

This sparked a drive in Hope. Soon after the surgery, she watched a documentary on landmine victims, which opened her eyes to the needs of people in developing countries. It inspired her to found The Limbs of Hope Foundation in October 2003. The organization collects prosthetic devices in the United States and ships or delivers them to developing countries. Through her experience in the amputee community, she realized many people were discarding prostheses due to product liability laws, but the components were still viable for developing countries. Hope has traveled to Cambodia and Romania delivering prostheses and sports equipment for children in orphanages, and her organization has delivered more than 7,000 prostheses across the globe.

In 2016, Hope shifted her focus to pursue an opportunity to try out for the USA Women’s Para Ice Hockey team. After a long try-out process in Buffalo, New York, she made the team and has now experienced three seasons as the team’s goalie. The team went to Norway in 2016 and won the tournament over four other nations! They then traveled to the Czech Republic in March 2018 and won the gold medal in the Women’s Para Ice Hockey World Cup.

Women are not recognized yet in Para Ice Hockey for the Paralympics. Hope's goal is to be on the first USA  Women’s team to enter the Paralympics and then to be part of the first team to win a gold medal! She continues to provide hope to those in need and encourages all around her to pursue their dreams.

Hope sees the globe as a place of endless possibilities to do good. “I am just one person,” said Hope. “It doesn’t matter if someone lives six or 6,000 miles away. We are the ones who can make a difference in this world.”

Some of Hope’s honors include:

  • Volvo for Life Awards (March 2005):
    • Youngest recipient
    • Two Honors
    • Quality of Life award
    • Named America's Greatest Hometown Hero as the grand winner
  • Youngest recipient of the “Days of 47” Pioneer of Progress in Education, Health and Humanitarian Award (July 2005)
  • West Jordan City’s Honoree Citizen Award
  • Gold Medal World Cup Recipient – Women’s Para Ice Hockey (2018)

Hope wearing prosthetic leg and in her hockey gear