After a 100-foot ground fall in a climbing accident, Demartino underwent 11 surgeries, but 18 months later was no better. He found himself facing the decision to keep his leg and be crippled or undergo amputation and have the opportunity to remain active.
When he heard about Breslford, Daly got a hold of her at the hospital in Tampa. “I introduced myself and said, ‘Climbing is just going to be different. It’s not over.’”
“If someone comes in and they’re a paraplegic or quadraplegic, we don’t care what they’ve lost, it’s lost. We say ‘show me what you got’. It’s a beautiful thing when people experience that for the first time,” Daly says.
It’s not cheap to be an active amputee. Every activity requires a different prosthetic. There are special feet for running marathons, swimming, yoga, wearing high heels, you name it. Daly’s leg, for example, cost $17,000. and it’s just for walking. “It’s about $2,500–$6,000 for each foot, so every time you participate in a sport, you gotta cough up that money,” Daly says. “If you’re an above the knee amputee, that cost quadruples.”
“If you wanna take up running you just need to buy a pair of shoes for $100. If you’re an amputee, you need a $5,000 foot.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 200,000 people in the U.S. lose limbs each year. Though some states have a prosthetic parity law requiring insurers to provide prosthetics equal to Medicare, Daly says most expenses come out of pocket.
Eventually, Daly would like Paradox Sports to fund a pool where members can have access to equipment.
“The first thing someone has to do when they go through trauma, and lose function, is you have to accept it, you have to embrace it,” Daly says. “Instead of looking back, you look forward and say well, what can I do?”
For Bob Kimbro, that means spending the weekend camping and climbing at Shelf Road with friends who share similar experiences. “I’m just your typical Boulder guy with a Peter Pan syndrome,” Kimbro says. “I’m real bad at sitting on the couch.”
Paradox supports programs in rock climbing, ice climbing, biking, fishing, surfing and more. Want to get involved? Contact Paradox Sports at paradoxsports.org.
Caroline Treadway is a Colorado-based writer, photographer and climber. Read her blog at carolinetreadway.wordpress.com.