Arielle Vienneau is raising money to replace her existing prosthetic leg with a waterproof micro processor enabled leg.
The Nova Scotian woman lost her leg more than 15 years ago, and has since had a prosthetic limb that’s not waterproof. This has taken a toll on her emotionally and physically.
“Being waterproof is kind of just a basic need,” said 31-year-old Vienneau.
“The water could enter where the electronic components are and completely fry my leg.”
Vienneau, from Port Hawkesbury, lost her leg when she was just 14, after a vascular injury that later turned into a gangrene infection after many operations.
The 31 year-old Port Hawkesbury health-care worker and part-time parental figure to a child is trying to raise $48,000 for a new waterproof artificial leg that will allow her to run or walk.
“I would like to go outside without worrying about wrapping my leg with a garbage bag,” said Vienneau.
“If my child runs into the water at the beach, I would like to be able to run after her. I just want to live like everyone else with two legs.”
Vienneau’s heath insurance through work will cover $92,000 of the cost of a replacement prosthesis leg as her current one nears the end of its working life. A waterproof micro-processor prosthesis for an above the knee amputee runs about $140,000.
Vienneau resorted to setting up a GoFundMe site last week in an attempt to raise the additional funds.
As of Sunday she’d raised $4,400 toward her goal.
Vienneau was walking home at 14 years old on what had been to that point two good legs when she suffered an injury that saw her knee pop backwards.
Five surgeries at the IWK and a gangrene infection later and she had a new journey to face – learning to walk with a prosthetic.
Her first was a mechanical leg – without the computers that help you develop a natural gait.
The added strain saw damage done to her good knee, strain on her hips.
Vienneau looked around at her life and started making changes.
She lost weight, became a para-sport athlete – competing in volleyball and sprinting with Team Canada.
She began a career in administration in long-term care with the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
And she moved back home to Cape Breton.
Now that her existing prosthesis is over six years old, the warranty is gone but repairs need to be done so she is looking forward.
“According to my clinicians, for the longevity of my bones and my body this is the most suitable prosthesis for me,” said Vienneau.
“It’s about the longevity of my life and living it to the fullest.”