Heather Walker, Nebraska:
When one of our long time patrons, Heather Walker, asked me to fit her AFOs into her prom shoes, I was skeptical. However, it is customary for us to say, “We can send men to the moon, we should be able to make this work,” so we took on the challenge.
Heather was born with Spina Bifida, a condition that has left both of her legs paralyzed below the knees. Even with this condition, though, she plays volleyball and is an accomplished fast pitch softball pitcher for her high school team. She has a perpetual smile that is contagious, and case in point, you simply cannot tell her no.
So, when she asked to have a pair of tiny slip on shoes attached to her AFOs for the prom, I agreed. A mechanical attachment was needed because the shoes had no laces or other means to stay on her feet. We also used a few shims to adjust for the lack of heel rise. And after a few trial fits and adjustments, she was off to the prom, happy that she did not have to resort to the same old shoe she wears everyday.
Heather is just one example of our commitment to patient care. We realize that “care” not only means addressing our patients’ immediate needs, but also their long term ones. And so, it is truly a privilege to be able to serve our patients and to play a very small part in making someone’s life, like Heather’s, enjoyable.
The Experience in Heather’s Own Words:
Thanks to Ken, who has been with me since birth, I was able to go to the prom. I had always dreamed of going with someone to prom, but always feared not being able to wear nice shoes. I didn’t know how to hide my tennis shoes and I could not keep my balance in high heels. Every time I went to the mall to look for some nice shoes to wear for dances, I would always skim the high heels and wonder if it could be possible to wear high heels. Still, I always ended up buying tennis shoes instead.
I knew prom was very formal and thought I had to come up with some way of being able to wear nice shoes. I saw a pair of sparkly flat shoes and I wondered if Ken could help me. I bought the shoes and took them in to him and asked him if it was possible to wear these shoes. Ken said, “Heather, anything is possible if you put your mind to it!” He took my braces and shoes back to his work shop and had the braces and heels fit to the shoe in five to ten minutes. I couldn’t believe it! The shoes fit and I was able to keep my balance. I was ready to go to prom. To top it off, the shoes also gave me a little height for my tall date. Thanks again to Ken, for allowing me to have the time of my life!
Regina Hanson, North Platte, NE:
The Wonderful people of
Family O & P truly are an amazing group of professionals, caring and human
beings! They helped make my transition to having a prosthesis a very positive
experience. What also impressed me is that Family O & P have individuals
working for them who are amputees themselves! With Family is where you should
begin with and stay.
Regina Hanson, Nebraska
Deb Hanebuth, Nebraska:
Deb Hanebuth has had left side hemi-paresis for 14 years, due to a traumatic
brain injury. Over the years her walking had become so laborus due to
hyperextension of the knee that she was unable to work. She had been treated in
the past with a knee orthosis, but found it ineffective and difficult to
After being fit by Family Orthotics and Prosthetics Orthotist Ken Vyvlecka
with the Townsend Custom KAFO, this is a few of her comments. "I wish I would have done this years ago. It changed my life. Work
became impossible due to my lack of knee control. I had given up on walking for
pleasure, now I have no knee, hip or back pain. I would encourage anyone
Deb Hanebuth, Nebraska
Todd Grothe, North Platte, NE:
Regarding my Sole Support Custom foot orthotics."I have been acquainted with Family O & P for three years now and have
personally used their products with outstanding results.
I do not hesitate to
refer any athlete with lower extremity problems to Family O & P because of
the wonderful outcomes resulting in quick, pain free, return to play experienced
by these competitors!
Thank you Family O & P!
Todd Grothe MS LATC CSTS"
Janet Dible, Rexford, Kansas:
I have had "foot trouble" for over thirty years. I've had both joints on my
big toes surgically replaced, and nearly two years ago, I fell from a tractor
and suffered a compound fracture of my ankle. When I visited the physical
therapist, he suggested that I go to Family Orthotics and Prosthetics for custom
This visit made all the difference. I was given foot orthotics for my shoes,
and I no longer had a stabbing pain in my heel. It was the difference between
night and day! I wish I had visited Family O&P years ago! I thought it was
just another way into the pocket book. Boy, was I wrong!
Mark Kottmeyer, Nebraska:
I have been hoping that I would run into you sometime so that I could tell
you what a blessing your work has been to me. The inserts you made for my shoes
have been a great help. I feel like a kid again.
My feet and back feel much better at the end of a long day. I feel more
energetic and I am in a lot better mood when I get home. Merry Christmas to you
and your family!! God Bless!!
Mary Ann Holmquist , Nebraska:
I want you to know how pleased I am with my Arizona AFO! Besides making
walking easier, it has helped my back from getting tired and keeps my ankle and
knee from turning to the inside. Thanks again to Ken Vyvlecka at Family O&P
and his expertise for recommending the Arizona AFO.
Mary Ann Holmquist,
Berneice Zimmerman, Nebraska:
"Without my custom insoles from Ken Vyvlecka at Family O&P, I could not
be working! I am walking so much better than before, thank you!"
Harlan Nilsen, Nebraska:
I lost my leg in September 1983. In November 1983, I received my first “trainer” leg and was able to walk without crutches. Even though this leg wasn’t much, it seemed good to be free to move around and have my hands free. Later on, I received my first “true” prosthesis and found I had to learn to walk again with one that actually had a knee. This was scary at first, but after 2 or 3 days I had it mastered. It was heavy and noisy but still better than crutches.
In September 1985, I got another leg. It was much lighter and quieter. I wore this one for several years and when it got noisy I could replace the rubber bumper in the knee and it would be as good as new. It finally wore out and broke and was replaced with a pneumatic knee model which had just come out. I wore this one for 12 years until it was worn out and replacement parts were no longer available.
At this time, the new Seattle Select knee, which was also pneumatic, came out, and I was fitted with a new prosthesis using this knee. After several years of ill-fitting sockets and not being able to walk well, it seemed a change was in order.
By a stroke of luck, I found FAMILY O&P and went to them for an adjustment that my former prosthetist would not do. They made the adjustment and asked me to come back a few days later, which I did. Then, after about a 2 hour session with Ken and Jeff, it was decided that I needed something different. Somehow, they convinced Medicare to pay for it, and they built me a completely different leg. After casting, etc., I received a new prosthesis with a modified MAS socket and a full hydraulic knee that locks when straightened out. There is also a new style foot that is just great to walk on.
It has taken some minor adjustments to the way I walk, but Ken and Jeff hung in there and got it right.
I must say this is my first comfortable prosthesis after more than 23 years, and it is a joy to have one that works properly. I have returned to walking for exercise and enjoy it very much.
What can I say except thank you,
Ken and staff, for what you have done for me and for the gracious treatment I have received from all of you. You can be sure I will recommend FAMILY O&P to anyone that needs your services.