A group of people at the Premier Surgical Prosthetic Center in Knoxville came together to help a Bahamian man walk again.
“Where would I have been if God didn’t send an angel?” Darren Pinder, with tears filling his eyes, said.
Pinder said he is grateful to be taking his first steps in years. The 54-year-old man from the Bahamas lost more than just his lower legs to diabetes, he also lost his independence.
“I got around on some knee pads,” Pinder said, fighting back tears.
He relied on knee pads and upper body strength just to get himself from point A to B, like getting on the ferry, where he met a Knoxville man on vacation.
“He was walking on his knee pads, literally,” Scott Dossey said. “He had lost his legs and was getting onto a ferry using knee pads… like the ones a carpenter would use to lay tile. His attitude stood out. He was happy and we got to talking to him and he just had a really great attitude.”
Scott Dossey said it was Darren’s smile and can-do attitude, despite his physical challenges, that made him stand out.
He wanted to make life a bit easier for him, so he reached out to Knoxville’s Premier Prosthetic Center to see what they could do to get Darren some new legs.
Together, they came up with a plan to provide him with a pair of custom-fit prosthetics free of charge.
Dossey paid for the nearly 900-mile trip up to Knoxville, a Premier prosthetist performed the free labor, and a prosthetic vendor, Fillauer in Chattanooga, donated the materials for the prosthesis.
“It was an emotional experience,” Jason Hayden, Premier Prosthetist, said. “It was emotional seeing him walking and seeing him progress over the first couple of days and really seeing what he was capable of doing, initially, and kind of seeing where he went from there. It’s been a great transformation for him.”
Pinder said it’s a gift of mobility that will forever change his life.
“I won’t need anybody to take me around anymore,” Pinder said. “I’ll now be able to go to the food store, pick up my groceries, and even take them in the house myself.”
Not only is Pinder heading back to the Bahamas with brand new legs, he is also leaving with a lifelong friendship.
“I’m just so happy for him,” Dossey said. “I’m joyous for him. I’m just thrilled that I could be a part of this.”
Pinder said he could not be more thankful to the generous group in Knoxville who man walking, once again, a reality.
“Now I’ll be able to move on my own,” Pinder said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this possible.”
Pinder will be returning to Knoxville this coming spring for a fundraiser that raised money for “Amputee Blade Runners.”
It’s a charity that provides free running prosethics for amputees.