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Amputees make strides toward goals at adaptive clinic

School of Mines event helps more than 30 Coloradans

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Traci Miller, 52, has been an above-the-knee amputee for 31 years. The one thing she hasn’t been able to do since losing her leg to a rare vascular disorder is run.

“Now, I just really want to learn how to run again,” said Miller, a Littleton resident.

“I have four grandchildren and would absolutely love to be able to run with them.”

Regaining those skills is what brought Miller to the sixth annual Colorado Adaptive Mobility Clinic, organized by local prosthetics provider Hanger Clinic.

Miller was one of more than 30 Coloradans with limb loss or limb difference who hit the track May 5 at Colorado School of Mines to practice being mobile.

The clinic was designed to help amputees of all ages become more active and see what’s possible with perseverance, clinical support and prosthetic devices tailored for running and other goals.

“It’s a great way to get them out and about and show them they can be part of the Colorado lifestyle and be active again,” Scott Taylor, of Hanger Clinic, said of the participants.

At the clinic, Miller tried a running blade for the first time.

“It makes an enormous difference,” she said after taking a run up the field. “It’s night and day. Before today I’ve only done the hop, skip, jump run. So for me to go foot-to-foot is huge.”

Improving their running techniques was the draw for amputees Jeff Lampe, 32, of Denver, who is training for an Iron Man competition, and Gadson Woodard, 11, of Denver, who loves to run for the freedom it offers.

Testing out high-tech athletic prosthesis is one of the goals of the clinic.

Highlands Ranch resident Ilene Brandon was all smiles after she was fitted to test a running blade.

“I don’t remember how to run,” said the six-year amputee. “I want to remember how to run.”

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