HOUSTON – At 55 years old, Annette Shelby is a disabled former cafeteria worker who literally does not have a leg to stand on.
You see, her prosthetic leg, her freedom, the one device that allows her to walk, is broken, rotten, full of mold, full of holes and held together with duct tape.
Ever since Hurricane Harvey swamped her apartment, forcing her to wade through floodwaters with her prosthetic limb, that already-wrecked leg has been impossible for her to walk on.
Her prosthetic leg looks like an old ripped-up piece of boat dock.
“I need this leg so badly to walk on. I’ve been walking for 30 years since my amputation and I refuse to give in to my disability. But I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk on this leg. This leg hurts me all day and all night if I try to wear it,” Annette said while fighting back tears.
To make matters even worse, Annette is currently caring for her best friend, Clarice, who has stage 4 lung cancer. Annette is struggling to hobble around on one leg to help Clarice.
“The only thing I care about right now is getting a new leg, so I can take care of her, so I can ease her suffering,” Annette said.
The problem is, since she lives on less than $800 a month in disability benefits, the likelihood of Annette coming up with more than $10,000 for a new prosthetic leg is nonexistent.
She applied for several programs but was told she would be placed on a waiting list that could leave her waiting for close to a year.
So Annette has prayed daily for help.
“In the name of Jesus, I ask you, dear Lord, to send me a new leg, to send some help. I need some help," Annette said while holding her Bible.
That is when one of Annette’s sisters wrote to Spencer Solves It.
Right away, we contacted Rebekah Gregory, an incredibly brave woman from Katy who lost her own leg in the horrific Boston Marathon bombing.
Rebekah referred us to Orthotic and Prosthetic Associates in Bellaire.
The company fits, designs and builds all kinds of prosthetic devices for Houstonians who’ve lost limbs, and it is always on top of the latest developments in cutting-edge technology involving prosthetic devices.
Now, the specialists are fitting Annette for a brand-new prosthetic leg.
“She has a short stump, so it has, it is going to be kind of a specialty prosthesis for her. It will need to have a metal hinge at the knee and also a gauntlet at the top to attach to her thigh,” said Stephen Plant, the owner of Orthotic and Prosthetic Associates.
It will take a couple of weeks to fabricate that leg and fit it expertly for Annette's body.
But in the end, Annette will be able to walk again for the first time in nearly 10 months.
Her most heartfelt prayers will have been answered.
“This means the world to me, just to be able to walk again and I am so very grateful. So, I just appreciate you. I really do. Thank you,” Annette said.
When Annette actually receives her brand-new prosthetic leg, we will bring that story to you on Channel 2 News.