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Pam

Pam

At 14, Pam says, “I know I was born to be an amputee.”

When she was just 10 months old she contracted a form of meningitis called meningococcemia. Meningococcemia is a potentially life-threatening infection where blood clots back up, and eventually cut off circulation. Pam’s mom, Robin, says when the doctors first saw her daughter, “they told me they didn’t think she was going to make it. Pam’s face, cheeks, nose, her whole body were turning different shades of blue.” In order for her to make a full recovery, nine of Pam’s fingers and both of her legs had to be amputated. After spending two months in the hospital, Pam was finally able to go home.

Pam began coming to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville when she was two years old. Since that time, Pam has come to the hospital every eight to 10 months for a new pair of legs. So far, the hospital has custom made her 14 new pairs of legs. Each time Pam walks into the hospital the prosthetists are amazed at how beat up her old legs look. Pam says she loves the legs they make her. “I’ve never had a problem with any of them. They are really good legs. I never have to have them fixed no matter how much I use them. I love Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville.” Pam’s mom says she thinks the fact that her daughter gets to design her own legs gives her daughter more ownership, “The last time she needed new legs, she asked for camouflage. That’s what she got. She is so proud to wear those legs and show them off.”

Pam is an identical twin. Her sister Sue never contracted meningitis. She still has both of her legs and all of her fingers. But thanks to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville, when you look at the girls standing side-by-side, you would never know there is any difference. Side-by-side they run, jump, surf, play softball and soccer, and turn cartwheels. Pam says having amputated legs “doesn’t make much of a difference at all. It just takes me a little more time to figure out how I can master each new task. I never let it stop me.” Pam absolutely lives by her own advice. “Don’t think you can’t do something until you’ve tried it. Never say ‘I can’t do it.’”

For the last seven years, Pam has served as a patient ambassador for the Greenville Shriners Hospital. She has attended countless events on behalf of the hospital, shares her story and mentors other amputees any time she gets the chance. Pam explains, “I love helping others. I think God made me an amputee so that I could help other people and kids who have amputations. I want to teach them that it doesn’t have to stop you.”

Watch Pam’s story.

Meet some of our other special patients.