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Our Inspiration – Vanessa’s Story

  • June 19, 2017
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Vanessa was born with a congenital skeletal anomaly called Tibia Hemimelia. In March of 2000 Vanessa and her parents walked through the doors of Sick Kids for the first time. It was not an easy day for the parents, as the realization and accurate diagnosis of Vanessa’s very rare deformity left her parents in a state of bewilderment and shock.
Vanessa’s parents had a lot of questions regarding Vanessa’s Syndrome and thankfully they spent the entire day – 12 hours to be exact – speaking with a very compassionate team at Sick Kids who answered many of the Parents immediate concerns.
Vanessa was born with a shorter left tibia and she is missing her left ankle, because of this Vanessa’s first surgery took place when she was just three months old to permanently fuse her tibia bone to her foot. After her first surgery, Vanessa was fitted with an AFO Brace to wear for life.
After four very difficult surgeries at various stages of Vanessa’s growth that helped align her leg difference, she is now walking and running and has finished her last surgery. On two occasions Vanessa had a special frame called a Taylor Frame, surgically attached to her lower leg. During these times Vanessa was seen by her Doctors as somewhat of a poster child for this type of treatment as it is a very difficult and physically challenging frame to wear and in Vanessa’s case, she wore them for just under a year. Her strength, tenacity and positive character made the experience easier for her to go about her life on both occasions.
Today, Vanessa is a very happy 17 year old. She will always have to wear her AFO brace but to look at her and see the quality of life she has today is in the greatest part because of the amazing and caring Physicians, Nurses and Physiotherapists that took such great care and showed such unwavering support in Vanessa’s journey.