A Boston Marathon bombing survivor and a Hicksville prosthetics company teamed up to give a 21-year-old woman a custom-made leg.
“It’s exciting to look down and see 10 toes,” said Savannah Booth, of Wilmington, North Carolina, who slipped on her new prosthetic leg for the first time Tuesday at A Step Ahead Prosthetics.
Booth was born without a portion of her fibula, or calf bone, and had her leg amputated midway below her knee when she was 11 months old. She’s worn 18 prosthetic legs, but none as realistic as the one given to her by Heather Abbott, who lost her left leg in the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon and has since started a foundation to provide prostheses for other amputees.
Booth reached out to offer Abbott her support as a fellow amputee after seeing her posing with her new leg on the cover of People magazine in 2013. The two continued to correspond over the years and when Booth said she needed a new prosthetic, Abbott stepped in.
“She had talked about the importance of being able to walk around and not feel like people were looking at your prosthetic,” said Abbott, 41, of Newport, Rhode Island. “It’s definitely something I understand, and so I was really happy to be able to do this.”
The highly functional prosthetic costs about $35,000 and is covered in silicone that was painstakingly painted over the course of three days to match Booth’s skin tone and to include details like freckles and wrinkles, said Erik Schaffer, A Step Ahead Prosthetics’ chief executive. The toes were sculpted by hand and even have acrylic toenails, which were painted hot pink.
Booth, who had not been able to wear sandals or flip-flops with her old prosthetic legs, received two pairs of sandals Tuesday — one with silver straps, the other in a snakeskin print — donated by Nine West, said she’s excited to go shopping for more.
“Psychologically, it’s just nice to look down and not feel like something’s missing,” Booth said. “It’s nice that when people look at you, the first thing they notice isn’t that you’re missing a leg.”