We are privileged to associate with Operation Walk Pittsburgh as our benefitting charity for the Pittsburgh 5k Foam Fest. They are a wonderful non profit organization that dedicates their time and resources to orthopedic needs of those in need all over the world. Here are some of the people that they have helped:
Karen Basham – Right KneeReplacement, November 2012
Karen recently moved to Butler from San Diego to take care of her aging mother. During an initial visit to the Butler Health Clinic complaining of leg pain, her physician recommended that she apply for Operation Walk Pittsburgh. Having worked as a nanny for 30 years, Karen had no access to affordable health insurance.
She has suffered with knee pain for the past 7 years, but a team from Operation Walk Pittsburgh performed surgery on her right knee. She feels “very privileged to receive this great, great gift,” and looks forward to taking walks and attending local craft shows to sell her products.
Autumn Merriwether – Right and Left Knee Replacements, November 2011/November 2012
Autumn is from New Kensington and used to own and operate a daycare center before becoming the operations coordinator for a car dealership; however, her knees were preventing her from working.
Autumn likes to shop (but doesn’t do Black Friday!) and enjoys writing poetry, music, and going to church, something she hasn’t been able to do because of the pain she experiences. She states, “I can really, honestly say my quality of life stinks right now, I can’t do anything. It’s painful even to just take a shower.”
She was frustrated with how limited by her condition she became, stating, “It has actually caused me to be depressed because I can’t do anything.”
Now that Autumn has had two knee replacements by Operation Walk Pittsburgh, she is ecstatic. “I thank God for my angel Dr. DiGioia – thank you to the whole Operation Walk team! I have two new knees, which will allow me to finally get back to living again! 2013 is going to be the best year of my life and I owe it all to God and Dr. DiGioia! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Vearie Poellnitz – Right and Left Knee Replacements, November 2011/November 2012
Vearie lives in Penn Hills. Originally from Alabama, she moved to Detroit before eventually settling in the Pittsburgh area. She has two children and six grandchildren and as Vearie states with a smile, “I’m an awesome mom and grandmom.” Vearie works as a housekeeper in Squirrel Hill and discovered Operation Walk Pittsburgh after her employer read an article in the Post-Gazette.
She had been having issues with her knees for the last several years. Her daughter told Operation Walk Pittsburgh, “it seems like forever because she has suffered so much.” Vearie admitted she had a “very, very poor quality of life. It’s difficult to just get up and do anything.” Daily activities were difficult and work became a painful experience.
Post surgery, Vearie is excited because she is able to do more of the things she enjoys like working on her home and spending time with her family. “I’m glad the program is here to help people like me who don’t have insurance,” comments Vearie. Her daughter adds, “We are so glad, extremely glad…just for her to finally get some relief we are very glad.”
Louis Hilliard – Right Hip Replacement, November 2012
Louis is from Butler and has been suffering with severe hip pain for years. This past November, Louis received hip replacement surgery by Dr. Muzzonigro and his team at Butler Memorial Hospital as part of the 2012 Operation Walk Pittsburgh local efforts.
Louis told Operation Walk, “I can’t thank Operation Walk enough. After being in a car accident in 1999 and dislocating my right hip, I was in terrible pain. Now, I am able to run around with my grandchildren!”
Lilian – Hip Replacement, September 2012
For years, Lilian had been looking to improve her life. Seven years ago, she traveled from her home country of Uruguay to Honduras in search of an opportunity to receive a hip surgery that would change her life physically and emotionally. Her hip pain limited her movement and made even the simplest daily activities impossible. Lilian was depending on other people and had to leave many things incomplete. She felt horrible relying on someone to put on socks, shoes or to pick up a dropped item from the floor.
Lilian struggled to find work with the limitations of her condition. She forced herself to work, pushing her body to the limit to avoid being ridiculed. Most days she was in tears because of the pain but continued to hide her illness from others.
After so many years of anguish, Lilian’s life dream came true and she received a total hip replacement by Operation Walk Pittsburgh. She is now able to perform daily tasks independently.
Lilian told Operation Walk Pittsburgh, “These angels called Operation Walk devote part of their lives giving away their time and knowledge to people like me. My tears now are not of the pain in my hips, but from happiness and joy. I have no words to express my feelings. I can only say thank you to Operation Walk. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I give you love and thanks.”
Jose – Right Knee Replacement
Meet Jose from Guatemala, one of Operation Walk Pittsburgh’s first patients! Jose was unable to work on his family’s farm because of his terrible joint pain and had taken on a new profession as a bread baker. Still in horrible daily pain, Jose sought out Operation Walk Pittsburgh for a right knee replacement. Post replacement, Jose has gone back to work on his family’s farm and is enjoying life pain-free. The Op Walk team will never forget Jose’s kindness of baking fresh bread for the team in gratitude.
Thank you for being involved with the 5k Foam Fest and supporting wonderful causes like Operation Walk Pittsburgh.If you haven’t signed up for the Foam Fest already come to the site!