Man who lost leg in air show crash offers hope to Boston victims - KCTV5

Man who lost leg in air show crash offers hope to Boston victims

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A number of the injured in the Boston bombing suffered the loss of a limb. A Lenexa, KS, man knows firsthand what those people are going to face.

"For me it didn't sink in the amount of change that was going to befall my life when I lost my leg. At that point I was just happy to be alive," Bill Elvin said.

Elvin and his family were part of the spectators at an air show in Reno, NV, a year and a half ago when a plane suddenly crashed into the crowd. His mother was among the 10 people on the ground who died. Elvin and other relatives suffered severe injuries.

"I actually tried to get up - I didn't realize I lost my leg at the time," Elvin said.

This week watching the Boston attack and learning about the many victims who lost limbs hit close to home for him.

"If I had anything to say to them is, ‘don't despair. There are other people that have been through what you are going through before and they are there to help and don't be afraid to ask,'" Elvin said.

Elvin said he can do pretty much everything he did before, thanks to the advances in prosthetics. He has what's called an elevated vacuum system.

"What that does is allows the top portion that connects to my limb to stays in tighter contact than it used to. It feels more a part of me and I can kick and the leg doesn't come off," he said.

"I think it helps the psychological part early on if they can talk to a prosthetist or amputee and see that everything is going to be fine," said Mike Schultz, the founder of Horizon Orthotic and Prosthetic Experience.

Schultz had helped Elvin and countless patients get their lives back. His local offices, called HOPE, builds their prosthetics to be more comfortable and more flexible than ever before.

"Today we are using prosthesis that don't have extra apparatus on it, so our sockets are more fitted with jell lining and the comfort is one of the big advancements," Schultz said.

Elvin said his injury came from a freak accident and he doesn't blame anyone. He can't imagine what the victims in Boston are feeling, knowing that someone intentionally committed the crime.

He just hopes the victims find inspiration from their family and friends to help them move forward with their lives.

"And it's not going to be easy and don't try to pretend it will be. Just face it and do the best you can and when you need help ask because I found people in general are great and just want to help," Elvin said.

The experts at HOPE said some of the victims in Boston could be fitted for their first prosthesis as soon as four to six weeks after the amputation.

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