Henryville mother who lost legs in tornado moves closer to getting prosthetic legs


by Brooke Katz


Posted on April 23, 2012 at 11:33 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 23 at 11:41 PM

(WHAS11) -- With her family beside her, Stephanie Decker is now moving closer to learning to walk again.

“I’ve gained some patience in this process, but my patience is wearing thin because I want to get up,” Decker said.

It’s been more than a month since a tornado destroyed her Henryville home. Decker lost both legs while shielding her children from the storm, but by next week she’ll be out of her wheelchair and learning to use a prosthetic leg.

“I don’t foresee anything that could get in my way,” Decker said. “I am pretty determined and it’s time for me to start walking again.”

Matthew Hayden and Sienna Newman of Kentucky Prosthetics and Orthotics are working with Decker on her new legs. In addition to her right one, Decker will get a bionic knee for her left leg. The legs are made of titanium and carbon fiber. The knee is actually a microprocessor with a sensory system set to mimic a natural walk.

“It is the most advanced prosthetic knee on the market, and it will keep up with Stephanie,” Hayden said.

While it will be a challenge to learn to walk again, Decker says she’s happy to be closer to normal for both her and her family.

“I feel lucky to be alive, and I’m very happy and content,” she said. “I’m ready to get up and walk again, and look forward to taking those first few steps shortly.”

Tuesday night, Decker is throwing out the first pitch in the Louisville versus UK game. Then Thursday, she has one more surgery on her left leg so that she can be fitted for a prosthetic on it as well. She’s expected to be able to use both legs within the next six to eight weeks.