Lauren McCoy is ready to hit the slopes.
The last time she went to the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colo., she was still recovering from a leg amputation and knee replacement and was limited in her activities. This year she says she’s going to ski.
“My favorite part is finding out what I can and can’t do,” said McCoy, 15, of Colleyville.
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Fourteen teenage amputee patients along with chaperones will spend a week with their peers receiving ski instruction from staffers trained in teaching people with disabilities.
Dr. Tony Herring, now the hospital’s chief of staff emeritus, started the annual trip years ago as a way to help the teenagers.
“So many of them have been shy, but being around all these other kids taking their prostheses off before doing things like entering a hot tub it helps them realize it’s such a social thing,” he said. “No one is going to react negatively.”
McCoy expressed a similar sentiment. “All these people I can relate to on a deeper level,” she said.
Taj Theron Crosby, a Fort Worth native, said the trip is important to him because it reminds him of his capabilities.
“I can do anything and have fun,” he said.
Crosby, 15, was born with fibular hemimelia and only two toes on one foot. He could walk but not well, he said, until an amputation removed most of the foot except for the heel five years ago.
“It’s awesome; I get to do things I used to do and do it better,” he said.
Now Crosby plays football and basketball at South Hills High School in Fort Worth.
The Dallas-based hospital is open to children 18 and under and offers treatment even if a family cannot afford it.
McCoy has been a patient there since she was 6 months old.
She had a staph infection that affected the growth plates in her right leg, leading doctors to perform an amputation in 2012. Now she said everything is so much easier.
Her father, Mike McCoy, said she had been dropped from their insurance plan and no other insurer would pick her up. He said he is delighted to see her now going on a second ski trip with the hospital.
“It brings tears to your eyes; there’s no other way to explain it,” he said.
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770