You’re Our Only Priority
We know that technical skills will never be more important than people skills. We have a vivid understanding of what you and your family are experiencing, and we believe that it all comes down to understanding, caring and experience.
At Metro, we build relationships and consider our patients as family.
Not only does this help you feel comfortable and confident, it also gives us insight into how we can continue to provide the best solutions for you and your specific lifestyle.
At Metro, you receive personal, hands-on experienced care, not a turnstile approach to prosthetic or orthotic services.
But don’t take it from us; click on a story below, to see what our family has to say.
Diane Whitlock of Rosedale, MD may be missing a leg, but she isn’t missing a stride.
While Diane has had 39 years to come to terms with the trauma of that day, she has had to live with the impact of losing her left leg above the knee, every day since.
As an extremely active 20-year-old, Diane was faced with not only the loss of her leg, but also of the activities she loved, dancing, cooking, and just walking.
“There was a big sense of loss and trauma at losing my leg at 20.” Diane explains, “One day I walked out of the house to visit someone, the next thing I know I wake up in a hospital. At the time, I didn’t drive, so I was really reliant on walking.”
That led Diane to the next logical step – a prosthetic leg.
“I spent 19 years using one of the large prosthetic companies. I didn’t know any better. I started with a free-swing leg, meaning that I had to swing my upper leg to get the lower leg to swing out to extend to the point I could put my weight on it. I never really learned to walk properly with my prosthetic, nor received the type of personalized service that I never knew existed. They were very passive, and unless I was physically in the office, I never received ANY service. I was still using the same antiquated free swing leg after 19 years. It was frustrating. “
“I can’t tell you how many times I flung that leg across the room.” said the 58-year-old nana of 13 children.
“I had never had any newer technology recommended to me, nor was I encouraged to try anything new. It wasn’t until my prosthetic leg broke, when I was on a vacation, that I had to visit a different office, where I was offered a different option.”
It had to change.
Diane now turns to Dennis Haun, a prosthetist at Metro Prosthetics, serving the Washington DC and Baltimore areas.
“Dennis is determined to get me to try new stuff that will be better for me. It may even be out of my comfort zone, but he knows it will be better for me.”
Dennis fitted Diane with a C-leg, a computerized prosthetic leg manufactured by Ottobock. The C-leg is then customized by Metro Prosthetics to fit Diane and programmed to best match her gait.”
“This leg is a much more natural leg. When the heal touches, it sends a message that bends the knee.” says Diane.
“I’m a nightmare customer too. My weight fluctuates up and down, but Dennis continuously makes sure that I have the most appropriate product and the best fit possible.”
Weight fluctuations and changes in lifestyle require proper fitting and ongoing tuning of prosthetic sockets, as well as reassessing the product being used – making sure that it is still the most appropriate prosthesis for the user.
“Dennis relentlessly works at getting me what I need. I came from a time when a doctor would call to see how you are. This is the type of very personalized service that Metro provides. I like the fact that Dennis is persistent. If I miss an appointment, or haven’t talked to Metro for awhile, Dennis will call me up and make sure that I’m doing well and will make sure that I’m coming to the office soon.”
“It’s personal for Dennis. He makes it a point to know me and my family, and it reflects in the way he treats me.”
Diane, has never slowed. She continues to be active.
“It’s not your life, it’s your leg. Live your life and don’t be scared of anything. I’ve danced many nights away. You can do anything that someone with two legs can do. You may have to do things differently, but you can do them.”
38-year-old Justin Radcliff of Clayton, North Carolina is a husband and father of three kids (two daughters and one son). Justin works as a personal trainer at a gym during the day, and makes deliveries for USA Today during the night.
Upon waking and realizing that his leg had been amputated, Radcliff remembers thinking, “What in the world just happened? I boxed for 8 years. I wanted to be a walk-on for the Ravens in 2000. Suddenly, I have to start over from point A again, only it’s not even point A, it’s further back than that.”
Radcliff began the hard task of rebuilding.
“Left to my own devices, my life became self destructive. Most people don’t understand how angry an amputee can get.” Radcliff explains, “It wasn’t easy – it’s still not easy. Mentally, it’s a mourning process. Like the loss of a loved one – suddenly I’m mourning the loss of something that was a part of me, and no one else understands.”
Justin knew that something had to change.Justin-Radcliff2
“We’re all responsible for our own lives. At some point, I realized that I needed to take accountability or nothing would change. So I started by refusing rides to my gym, which was only 300 yards away, but it required that I use my wheelchair through the snow. I knew I couldn’t rely on excuses – I had to go above and beyond in order to overcome.”
In a struggle to regain control of his life, Justin began focusing on fitness again. He tried a few prosthetic legs, but was having limited success with them. Then Justin met prosthetist Dennis Haun. “As far as I’m concerned,” says Justin, “Dennis is the Michael Jordan of prosthetics. He cares more, and takes more time to understand every thing that I need.”
“Justin has the will and strength to succeed.” says Haun. “With fitness and powerlifting as his passions and lifestyle, he has very unique and specific needs that have to be addressed. Our job was to focus on finding the correct design for his prosthesis, then making sure that we created the best fit possible. In this instance, we manufactured a prosthetic leg using a foot made by Ossur.”
Haun works for Metro Prosthetics in the Baltimore and DC Metro areas, and while Radcliff no longer lives in the area, he continues to rely up Dennis and Metro Prosthetics for his prostheses needs. “Previously, companies felt corporate and impersonal. Dennis and Metro’s personalized service is the difference. Dennis believed in me, and that allowed me to believe in me again – to believe that I could get there.”
As Justin began to believe in himself, he focused on his personal training and fitness, getting stronger and more focused. He began working out with his teenage daughter, and Justin entered his first power lifting competition. He won the competition by deadlifting 550 pounds.
Always passionate about his training, Justin got the opportunity to fly to Ohio, to meet and train with his hero and powerlifting legend Louie Simmons. “It was an honor to spend some time and learn from a legend. Even more, it was a blessing to share that experience with my daughter.”
Now, Justin continues to powerlift and coach his daughter who will soon be competing in a teen competition. Justin’s goal? To deadlift 700lbs by the end of the year.
When Cara Fortunato of Youngstown, Ohio began unloading heavy equipment for her landscaping business, she couldn’t have known how much her life was going to change.
At first Cara was sure that her right leg was broken, well it wasn’t, her leg was completely severed upon her impact with the tree. She was immediately life-flighted to Stanford Medical Center where she learned that her right leg would not be able to be reattached. After a 5 hour surgery her original below the knee amputation resulted in an above the knee amputation.
Upon leaving the hospital, Cara moved in with her parents in Florida for the next 2 years as she healed and started learning to adapt to life without her leg.
With little information or direction, Cara began cold-calling Prosthetists, to find someone to help her.
Over the next few years, Cara had a hard time finding the customer prosthetic service she needed. She was using a very basic “manual” style knee that Medicare had provided, but the socket was too big and did not fit properly. “I saw 2 different Prosthetists who were unable to correctly fit me with a socket,” says Cara. “It wasn’t until three years after the accident, that I met Dennis.”
Cara is referring to Prosthetist, Dennis Haun, of Metro Prosthetics in Maryland.
“I consider Dennis top-notch. With his sense of humor and camaraderie, I knew our relationship would be a great fit.” Cara explains, “Dennis said, ‘Let’s start over.'”
Since Cara had tried other knees that didn’t work with her lifestyle, Dennis looked to fit her with a new prosthetic leg. Not just a leg that would allow her to walk well again, but a leg that would allow her to enjoy her other passions as well. Dennis fit her with a computerized prosthetic leg; call a C-Leg, by Ottobock.
“It’s important to help people get back to the quality of life that they expect,” says Haun. “Understanding a person’s lifestyle demands is critical in selecting the most appropriate prosthetics to help the them achieve the best outcome.”
While Cara is back to work, she spends a little less time doing the hard labor, and a little more time doing design work; however, it is certainly not due to any loss of mobility. Cara’s other passions include rock climbing, cooking, house renovation and coaching women’s basketball , activities that require a lot from any knee.
“Dennis built me a rock climbing socket for my leg that allowed me to compete in the Extremity Games.” Says Cara, who won the gold medal in 2007 and 2008 and a silver medal in 2009, as well as the 2009 Silver Medal in the Kayak competition.
“It’s priceless to find someone like Dennis – to be able to have that personal relationship. Not only has he given me the ability to feel confident and walk again, but I can do the things that I love to do. Dennis is my ‘MacGyver.'”
“It’s the type of thing that happens to other people, but never to you.” Says 58-year-old Dean Millman of Owings Mills, Maryland.
On this day, a distracted motorist would fail to navigate a tight curve, cross the center line, and collide head-on with both Dean and his wife’s bikes, sending theMillman accidentm both to the hospital with serious injuries.
As his wife recovered, Dean continued to battle for life and limb. He had multiple fractured bones and was in surgery every other day for 3 weeks. While he gradually healed, the damage to his crushed left foot was presenting complications. After 6 weeks, the doctors were unable to restore blood flow to his left foot. Dean and his doctors decided that the best chance for mobility was to amputate the leg below the knee, near the middle of his lower leg, for a better fitting prosthetic.
“It’s a very lonely experience. It’s that thing we all want to stay away from – but it happened to me.” Millman explains, “Your friends and family all want to be there for you, but they don’t know what to say. I’m still the same person; still a dad, still a husband. Dean is still Dean.”
Knowing that riding was his passion, Dean turned to his wife and 3 sons when he began to consider getting back on the bike. Although his wife has chosen not to ride anymore, the family consensus was to follow “Dad’s advice” to “always follow your passion.”
It wasn’t easy though, it took another 4 months for Dean’s wounds to heal, and another 4 months to learn to walk again.
Dean works with his prosthetist, Dennis Haun of Metro Prosthetics near Baltimore, Maryland, to customize his prosthetic leg. His leg was amputated a little lower than is typical, making customization of his prosthesis critical.
“I could tell right away that Dennis knows his stuff, is cutting edge, and compassionate. He truly cares.”
Over the last few years, Dean worked with Dennis and Metro, to change his prostheses many times.
“Most people don’t realize, that the stump of an amputation changes over time. I went through 6 sockets, to maintain a proper fit.” says Millman.
Millman moto 1“I worked with Dennis to create a custom prosthetic that would work with my riding positions, and allow me to maneuver safely at stops and in parking lots by being flat-footed. The kickstand is the one thing I still couldn’t do, so we modified it with a lever that actuates a cable to raise and lower it.”
Since his accident, Dean has gotten back on his bike. “I went back to the site of the accident and rode by it several times. Once I dealt with that, I was able to move on.” Since that day, he has logged over 35,000 miles of riding. Along the way, he now makes a point of noticing other amputees and engaging them.
“I’m surprised by how many people I meet, who don’t have a prosthetic, or have a poorly fitting prosthetic, due to lack of education. One of the biggest problems is that many amputees aren’t properly educated on what their options are. That lack of information and education for new amputees is why they don’t know where to turn for answers.”
Dean also volunteers at amputee and prosthetic support groups, as his understanding and appreciation of the relationship between amputee and prosthetist drives him to help others.Millman beach 1
“Honestly, your prosthetist becomes your world – they become your family.” Says Dean, “It’s the little things that matter. Like making me a ‘water’ leg, that allows me to shower standing up, or go to the beach. It really helps restore your self-esteem and feel good about yourself, and that’s everything.”
“It feels good to know that someone is in your corner. I think that’s the biggest battle.” Explains Dean.
Like many people, Mitch Bednar of Howard County, Maryland suffers with daily pain. It’s not enough to keep him from his daily duties, and over the years, he’s found ways of coping. However, it’s not minor, either.
For years, Mitch dealt with tendonitis in his knee. As the pain increased, it began to progressively deteriorate his quality of life and activity.
“Over the span of 20 years, I’ve had 4 surgeries. Two on each leg. Over the last few years, the constant ‘tennis elbow’ pain in my left knee impacted my weekly walks and recreational rounds of golf. I began buying $40-$50 off-the-shelf shoe inserts, which seemed to help a little, but never completely. The pain still existed, only slightly less.”
It wasn’t until Mitch found Dennis Haun of Metro Prosthetics, that he found his long-term solution. Metro Prosthetics serves the Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C. areas, and specializes in custom orthoses (orthotics) and prostheses (prosthetics).
“I met with Dennis and discussed my pain and my history. Dennis recommended a custom foot orthotic. Since nothing else had worked, I had nothing to lose.”
“Off-the-shelf orthotics can’t address each individual’s needs.” Says Haun, “Aside from the biomechanical need, it’s important to understand a person’s lifestyle and daily patterns, Bednar1so that a custom orthosis can be designed to help in those situations as well as be durable enough to meet the demands of any activities. Off-the-shelf devices just can’t do this in a predictable manner.”
Haun explains that, “It is also important to maintain a relationship with the customer, so that over time, as the customer’s lifestyle changes, the orthosis is tuned or revised to handle the changes with them. This is also important if the customer gains or loses weight.”
In Mitch Bednar’s case, it did the job. With the support of his custom orthosis, Mitch is back to normal daily life without the stress and pain from his tendonitis. “I’m able to golf again, without pain – and for me, that’s a lot of walking.”
Nearly 50 years ago, Phil Avillo was a 23 year-old Marine lieutenant serving in Vietnam. A gun shot wound to his left leg resulted in its amputation above his knee.
“It never occurred to me,” Avillo said, “that I wouldn’t lead a relatively normal life after the amputation.” Now 72 years old, Avillo says, “I did just that.”
Indeed. After the amputation, he took-up 4-wall handball, racquetball, and biking. For nearly 25 years he coached youth athletics (baseball, soccer, basketball) and collegiate lacrosse, both at the club and NCAA D-III levels. He has become an avid exercise swimmer, triple-tracked skied into his 60s, and in his early 50s began playing golf.
Avillo GrandparentProfessionally, Avillo became a college professor, a profession that had him standing many hours each day in front of the classroom.
About 10 years ago, Avillo added, “I began experiencing difficulties with my prosthesis, specifically my sockets. They were ill-fitting, causing my walking and activity levels to deteriorate significantly.”
A patient man, Avillo continued to work with his prosthetist seeking to improve the sockets and to restore walking ability. No improvement occurred.
Out of frustration, he decided to look elsewhere. In the spring of 2011, from a recommendation, he met prosthetist Dennis Haun of Metro Prosthetics in Baltimore, MD.
“Then, I found Dennis,” he exclaimed, “and my comfort level began to improve almost immediately. Slowly at first, then more rapidly.” “First, Dennis designed a comfortable socket. From there we moved to improving alignment and my gait. That entire process started over three years ago. Now Dennis has me walking as well as I ever did, a reality I had begun to doubt would ever occur again.”
Avillo has been retired from college teaching for 2 years. “Because of Dennis,” he said, “I am able to enjoy an active and confident retirement. My wife and I travel widely; I maneuver around the golf course more effectively (alas, my game still needs lots of work); and I have even coached an 11-year old boy’s lacrosse team. My wife, meanwhile, is delighted that I can (among other activities) still shovel snow, plant shrubs, and prune trees!”Avillo Shovel
Avillo attributes Dennis’ philosophical approach to patient care with the success he has experienced under Dennis’ care. “Dennis incorporated me into the process,” he emphasized, “making us a team jointly working to resolve my problems. To enable us to work together, Dennis encouraged me to call him anytime I experienced a problem. And I did. I sent him texts, emails, called him, and even contacted him early one morning when my valve malfunctioned on a trip to San Diego. That morning was typical. He responded within minutes and he fixed the problem almost as quickly.”
“Now, that’s patient care!”
The 33-year old native of Huntingtown, Maryland is unlike most other motorcycle racers out there. That’s because Tim Jones is an amputee.
“Right now I am an amateur-professional, but I have dreams of going all the way and racing in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock Motorcycle.”
The 33-year old native of Huntingtown, Maryland is unlike most other motorcycle racers out there. That’s because Tim Jones is an amputee.
Jones was born without a hip socket on his left side, so doctors amputated his left leg when he was just two years old.
Now in all honesty, there is a debate about when a child who has lost a limb should wear a prosthetic device. Parents and their children should be asking a lot of questions. Here’s an interesting article on the topic from the Amputee Coalition.
Tim’s parents opted to do it early in Tim’s life.
Obviously, the amputation didn’t slow Tim down. He was fitted for a prosthetic leg and lived what can only be called a very full and active childhood. He hasn’t slowed down since.
“I always felt like I had to show others I could do the same things they did, but better,” said Jones.
To help Tim keep up, his parents went to Metro Prosthetics near Landover Hills, MD. Originally, they worked with Dr. Herbert Goller, who was the founder of Metro Prosthetics. However, over the years, as Dr. Goller retired, his son Pete began to work with Jones, creating a relationship that has spanned decades. Working with Jones over this time has allowed Metro Prosthetics to understand what Tim has needed from his prosthesis at every stage of his life.
Just like shirts, pants and shoes, as children grow, they outgrow their prostheses. So Jones’ device was ever changing.
“And then add to that how active Jones was as a youth, and you can imagine how often he was looking for my help,” says Goller.
“I used to break my prosthetic leg a lot, just being an active kid, so Dr. Goller would always try to design better ones for me every time,” Jones recalls.
While still a young man, Jones has seen many changes in prostheses.
“The technology (for prosthetics) definitely has come a long way. Today, they are digital and computerized, so when Pete adjusts it, he adjusts it with a laptop. It’s a lot easier now to function,” said Jones.
“With the computerized knee, it’s so much better because it could be adjusted according to how much weight I put on my leg.”
Like many amputees, Jones has developed a special bond with those who help them.
“Every time I would come into a problem, Pete and his father would always figure out a solution to get me back on track. I’m sure they learned a lot about me and how to design my leg, throughout the years. I used to race motocross, so I used to mess up my prosthetic a lot.”
When Jones was 10, he visited a local drag way at the Maryland International Raceway.
He was hooked.
Jones continues his quest to become an NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racer.
“No matter what comes up, as long as you keep trying, something will always work out. You just have to have hope and never give up.”
Tim Jones certainly hasn’t given up.
Richard Herskovitz is a 52 year old from Reistertown, Maryland, is considered one of the top Amateur Natural Bodybuilders in the country. Herskovitz holds another title—he’s also an amputee..
You know the saying, “my body is a temple?”
Well, Richard Herskovitz lives by that motto. To say he’s in great shape would be an understatement. This 52 year old from Reistertown, Maryland, is considered one of the top Amateur Natural Bodybuilders in the country. Herskovitz holds another title—he’s also an amputee.
In October 2005, Herskovitz contracted Necrotizing Fasciitis, also known as “The Flesh Eating” bacteria.
“It pretty much destroyed my leg,” said Herskovitz.
After numerous surgeries and efforts to save the leg, in December 2006, he decided to amputate his right leg below the knee.
“With the advances in technology and with prosthetics, I thought I could live a more normal life without a dead leg.”
Adjusting to life with a prosthetic was just that—an adjustment. But, Herskovitz moved on and even got back on stage and competed in bodybuilding contests.
The years following he got back on stage and placed in the top in every competition he entered.
Despite the titles, Herskovitz was living a life of pain. He had damaged tissue above the knee.
“The prosthetics brought on a new level of difficulties because I was dealing with a residual limb. It was extremely damaged and sensitive and then you put that limb into a hard plastic container that’s supposed to support your weight all day, it was challenging.”
So doctors felt it was best to amputate more of his leg. In 2009 he had a revision surgery to amputate his leg, above the knee.
With the damaged tissue gone, Herskovitz had hoped things would be different. In deed they were, thanks to Dennis Haun, a prosthetist.
“I tell Dennis exactly what I’m looking for and he makes it happen. There’s never a NO we can’t do that or it won’t work. He’ll say okay let’s try it this way or do this. He’s very determined, very sincere, he really wants to help and he does everything in his power and then some to try and help you be pain free,” said Herskovitz.
Now his knee is extremely high tech and “imitates a real knee.”
It’s exactly the kind of advances Herskovitz needs, especially if he’s trying to dominate the bodybuilding world.
Tim Jones certainly hasn’t given up.
As a mother of six children, you can bet Cate Dwyer’s life can get pretty hectic. Trying to keep up with a household full of kids is not easy — but try doing it with a prosthetic foot!
“Parenting is a contact sport,” said Dwyer.
The Glen Burnie, Maryland mother spends most of her time shuttling each of the kids to their various sports and activities. She also home schools them and will do just about anything for her family.
Trying to keep up with a household full of kids is not easy — but try doing it with a prosthetic foot!
You see, Dwyer was born with a birth defect called Fibular Hemimelia.
“I was missing my right fibula and some toes as well. That leg was shorter, so I had to wear a long leg brace,” she explains.
Dwyer’s childhood was a bit challenging because her leg brace wasn’t very functional. When she turned 11, her parents decided the best thing would be to amputate her foot.
“I had a very, very clunky foot. It improved over the years, but from when I was 11 until last year, that’s the kind of prosthesis I wore,” said Dwyer.
Nonetheless, Dwyer was determined to stay active. In high school, she played field hockey and intramural sports. She even ran. But as she got older, living with a prosthetic foot got more challenging, especially after each pregnancy. The pain became unbearable.
“My youngest is 5. You know, they’re kids, so they like to go out and do things and I like to go out and do things. But I was finding that I couldn’t go for a walk around the block,” Dwyer told American News Report.
Dwyer “I would dread it when they asked. I wanted to, but it hurt so much. Even going to the mall, I could walk around for an hour and I knew I would suffer the next day. I would grit my teeth and just do it. Going up stairs and hills was awful.”
In 2012, Dwyer’s life changed, because that’s when she met Dennis Haun of Metro Prosthetics, from a referral.
“When I went to see Dennis, it was like this light. He looked at my prosthesis and said no wonder you’re in pain,” Dwyer recalls. “From the minute I walked in there, he was confident he could help me.”
The two worked together to create a new prosthetic foot.
“It was a lot of trial and error. I was emailing him and calling him. He always welcomed it and worked through every little thing. He never made me feel like it wasn’t going to work. His confidence helped me.”
Now, at age 50, it’s as if life has just started for Dwyer. She’s grateful for a new beginning.
“Now I can do all of the stuff, with my family, and with no pain. Zero. We like to camp, we canoe, I can do that. I don’t have to think about it, I just do it now, without thinking about the pain.”
And that is certainly something to celebrate.
Harry Cohen of Baltimore, Maryland owns a tavern and a liquor store. That means he’s on his feet 16 to 18 hours a day.
“I’m constantly up and moving,” says Cohen.
Despite the long hours, he still finds time for himself — doing hot yoga and lifting weights at the gym five times a week.
This coming spring, he’s doing something he’s never done before.
“I’m challenging myself to run. My intention is to complete a 5K.”
For Cohen, the challenge isn’t in just running and completing the race, it’s doing it with a running blade. You see, almost 30 years ago, he was in a horrible motorcycle accident.
“I was crushed. Actually the whole left side of my body… my leg was between my bike and the car,” said Cohen.
“Doctors salvaged my leg but it was not right. There were a lot of issues, a lot of pain, a lot of functionality problems. I had multiple surgeries. The only options were more surgery, taking narcotics forever or amputation. Amputation was my choice and it was the best thing I did.”
It may have been an easy decision for Cohen, but adjusting to life with a prosthetic was difficult.
“I was young, fairly fit and I had a positive attitude, but all that kind of changed,” he recalls.
It wasn’t until a year ago that the now 53-year-old got back to doing what he loves — being active.
A fellow amputee, someone he’s done business with in the past, referred him to Dennis Haun of Metro Prosthetics.
“I haven’t had any pain meds since a couple of months, post-surgery. I haven’t been able to do a lot of aerobic activities short of running, over the years. The moment he fitted me with this running blade, running prosthetic, I was running that afternoon. It’s a challenge, but I’d done more than I have since I had my leg amputated,” said Cohen.
Cohen is grateful he met Haun.
“He has straight answers to questions that I have. And he isn’t a shop that sends everything out to get done, he does everything in house,” Cohen told American News Report.
“So, when I need something done, I’d call him up, go to his place and get it down immediately, any time of the day. It’s not what most medical practitioners do. His demeanor, his outreach, his knowledge and skills are exceptional.”
With his new running blade, there are no more restrictions for Cohen and that is a game changer.
11-year-old Amanda Merrell of Damascus, Maryland, likes being active, real active.
Amanda is on a girls soccer team.
“She’s one of the fastest runners on the team. She also scores a lot of goals. In fact, she had one of the best seasons recently,” said Suzanne Merrell, Amanda’s proud mom.
Amanda also swims.
“She’s competed against able bodied kids and she was winning all of her heats,” said Suzanne.
The 11-year-old also plays basketball and lacrosse.
“There’s nothing that she can’t do. If we tell her, she can’t, she’ll look at you like, ‘What? Yes I can.’”
Amanda is having fun and she’s happy. You’d never guess from all of her energy and drive for life that she has a prosthetic leg.
She’s had a prosthesis since she was two-and–a-half years old.
“We found out she had cancer, EWING SARCOMA, bone cancer. Doctors told us she would go through six rounds of chemotherapy, they’d have to amputate her left leg, and then go through eight more rounds of chemo,” said Suzanne.
“She is a miracle to be here. There’s no way she should be here today.”
When doctors amputated her daughter’s leg, Suzanne said “there was no one to turn to, no one in Maryland had any idea of how to create a prosthetic leg for a little one.”
That was true until the Merrell family met Dennis Haun when Amanda was three years old. Dennis works for Metro Prosthetics, which has been helping people regain independence since 1977.
“Prior to meeting Dennis, Amanda had a prosthetic that was just horrible.”
Haun, who has created many custom prosthetics for children, worked with Amanda to create a prosthetic leg that allows Amanda to be, well, a kid. And about four years ago, he crafted a “J leg, like blade runner,” Suzanne said. “Since then, she’s never taken that leg off. She runs she jumps in the waves, in the ocean. It’s incredible.”
“The best feeling for me is the moment the patient realizes that they are going to regain independence. Helping a patient take the next step in recovery is what I love the most!,” said Haun.
Living with a prosthesis isn’t easy. Just ask Amanda.
“It’s sort of challenging on stairs and in big crowds.”
But life is a bit easier thanks to Haun, and the Merrells are grateful for his dedication.
“He’s always up on the latest stuff, he’s always trying new things with her. He’s just made her life a little easier to just be a kid and do everything a kid should be able to do,” said Suzanne.
“I think he’s awesome because he always helps me. Dennis is like family,” said Amanda.
Amanda’s pretty awesome too.
Rayna DuBose is a motivational speaker. The Columbia, Maryland native is also a substitute teacher and an assistant basketball coach for a men’s team at a local high school in Maryland.
It wasn’t always that way.
“I’m at a place, now in my life, where I’ve never been more in love with myself, just 100 percent of myself the way that I am today,” said DuBose.
For DuBose, basketball used to be her life and her passion. She spent all of her younger years perfecting the sport.
“I dedicated my life to being an athlete, to be a basketball player.”
All of that changed when she was 17 years old. After playing just one year on the women’s basketball team for Virginia Tech, a Division I school, DuBose contracted meningitis. Doctors gave her the devastating news.
“To find out that I was losing all of my limbs was devastating to me. Here I am, this top notch, world class athlete and thinking I have nothing now.”
Living as a quadralateral amputee was DuBose’s new life. Adjusting to prosthetics would prove to be her biggest challenge.
“It was definitely a struggle. It definitely took me a while to accept this is what I was getting ready to go through. It was a terrifying process,” said DuBose.
Then she met Dennis Haun. Dennis is with Metro Prosthetics, which has been helping amputees for 35 years in the Baltimore- Washington D.C area.
“Rayna is an athlete and you could see her summon her competitiveness in order to meet this unbelievable challenge,” said Dennis.
His expertise and her drive made for a good team.
“Dennis knew everything that I wanted for my prosthetics. He knew my lifestyle and how active I am. He also knew I’m an amputee who wanted to try everything out and then I want to break it to see why it did. I’m the type of person who likes to push it to the limits,” said DuBose.
“I want the best of what’s out there. One of the great things about Dennis is he encourages me to break things and figure out how we can make them better and stronger.”
Their relationship was a slam dunk. It developed over the years.
“He always kept me updated on the latest prosthetics. He introduced me to others in the prosthetics field. A prosthetist is like your best friend. He knows your body, your limbs to the ‘T’. I am forever grateful for Dennis.”
DuBose has accepted what happened to her and is grateful she has achieved normalcy in her life.
“It’s been a great ride, so far, and I’m glad Dennis was on board with me because I don’t know where I’d be if I had another prosthetist.”
For Metro Prosthetics, individual attention is the key.
“The main aspect of my job that I love the most is that even though we serve hundreds of patients, we serve them one at a time. We don’t treat you just as a patient, but as part of our family,” said Pete Goller, owner of Metro Prosthetics.
The 15-year-old Charlotte Hall, Maryland youth sounds a lot like other boys his age, but he’s not the same. Dayton lost both his arms and legs when he was just 10 months old.
“Dayton is an avid hunter, he rides dirt bikes and four wheelers,” says Natalie Webber, Dayton’s mother.
Aside from his outdoor activities, Dayton also wrestles.
The 15-year-old Charlotte Hall, Maryland youth sounds a lot like other boys his age, but he’s not the same.
Dayton lost both his arms and legs when he was just 10 months old.
“He was in and out of the hospital. Four months after the back and forth, we found out he got a streptococcus pneumonia infection. Doctors told us they had to remove his arms and legs,” remembers his mother, Natalie.
“It didn’t matter to us. We just wanted to bring Dayton home.”
Dayton would spend years with prosthetics that didn’t lend to his active lifestyle. After all, he was just a young boy who wanted to do what boys do. But obviously, he had limitations.
“They tried to give Dayton prosthetics with knees, but they just weren’t ones that were good enough. He couldn’t run and that was a big deal,” said Natalie.
Then about seven years ago, he met someone who would help change his life, or more accurately allow him to live a lifestyle the young boy wanted.
“We contacted Dennis Haun. He easily related to my son and the activities he was interested in. Dennis knew my son wanted to have an active lifestyle. Just all the things little boys liked to do,” Natalie explained.
Haun is a prosthetist at Metro Prosthetics, which serves the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas.
“Dayton wanted to get more active than his prosthetics would allow. I thought we could help that,” said Haun.
Haun created prosthetic legs that included Flex Run feet by Ossur. The Flex Run feet are what allow Dayton to run.
“With the Flex Run, he can run and walk faster and he feels more comfortable in his prosthetics. Prior to that he still had a good outlook at life, he was still happy, energetic kid just trying to do things the best that he could,” said Natalie.
It’s pretty clear, the Webber family is grateful to have Dennis in their lives.
“If there’s anything that Dayton desires, Dennis will put his feelers out. And if he doesn’t already know how to create something for him, he will reach out to somebody else and make sure that it happens,” Natalie says.
“In fact, he helped design a shooting arm. It helps Dayton be able to pull the trigger on his gun or his bow when hunting.”
But don’t take it just from Natalie. Dayton knows.
“The prosthetics he’s made allow me to drive go-carts, golf carts, four wheelers, and dirt bikes. He’s given me prosthetics so I can run and do whatever, do everyday things. He’s given me arms so I can hunt, to shoot the gun and bows. I can run and jump. He’s helped me out a bunch,” said Dayton.
Haun has changed Dayton’s life.
“Dennis Haun relates with his clients and he tries to put himself in our shoes and think about what we would want, and what needs improvements and what he can do better. He’s always working to make it better,” said Dayton.
Natalie looks at it another way. Dennis has helped Dayton do what he loves to do.
And that’s a gift for Dayton and his mom.