Chris can’t wait to teach his six-year-old daughter to ride a bike. It’s an experience he didn’t think would be possible, after his left leg was crushed in a 2018 car accident and fused straight in seven surgeries.
Unable to bend his knee to sit in a car, Chris couldn’t drive anywhere with his girlfriend and daughter. His altered gait resulted in severe back pain. The former professional athlete was unable to work and became largely home bound.
Then Chris learned about the Ewing amputation—an innovative procedure that reconnects muscles and nerves, allowing the residual leg to interact with leading-edge prosthetics. He suddenly had hope for a future with less pain and more mobility.
The only issue: the surgical trial and recovery took place in Boston, far from Chris’s home in Los Angeles, CA. He would not be able to afford the procedure or the required stay in Boston.
After a long process with insurance, Chris became the fifth above-knee amputation in the Ewing trial. “I lost my limb that day,” he says, “but I regained my life.”
Chris excelled in his recovery at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He was discharged from the hospital, but needed additional therapy before heading home to L.A. When Chris learned that he could live in Spaulding’s donor-funded housing to finish his treatment, he felt instant relief.
“For patients like me to be able to focus on their care and recovery, instead of on money, during the hardest time of their lives—that makes all the difference,” says Chris.
Spaulding’s Supportive Surroundings program assists with lodging, transportation, and other specialized needs of patients and families. Established and sustained by generous donations—including a founding gift from the late, dear friend of Spaulding, Jamie Bemis—the program’s flexible funding offers patients like Chris the chance make a safe transition from the hospital to a home environment, participate in outpatient therapy and clinical research studies at Spaulding, and more.
Proud father Chris shows off a photo of his daughter.
“My therapy built my confidence in navigating this new reality,” Chris says. “Preparing to transition home through the Supportive Surroundings apartment confirmed that confidence.”
Chris has big plans. He’s excited to return to his kickboxing career, now as an adaptive athlete. He has his sights set on a future Paralympics appearance. He hopes his successful participation in the Ewing trial will help others in similar situations. For today though, Chris is most content to drive to the park with “his girls,” and prepare to run alongside his daughter on her bike.
“I cry often now, out of gratitude,” Chris says. “It’s incredible to know that people at Spaulding—clinicians, staff, and donors—are so invested in my recovery.”
Imagine the Possibilities
At a time when scientific advancements can help make the impossible possible, an investment in rehabilitation medicine has never been more necessary — or more promising.
Your gift to Spaulding can make a real difference... starting now.