By: Matt Hamilton, Senior Writer
Caitlin Adams, a member of Towson’s cross country team, is preparing to run 305 miles across the state of Maryland. She’s running to raise money for Limbs for Life, an organization that provides prosthetics to those in need. She is fundraising for the run via her website, www.runacrossmaryland.com. This is the fourth installment of a series on Caitlin’s preparation for the run, which begins May 23.
For the past three years, Angie Lange just wanted to feel normal.
Ever since she headed out onto Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas one day in August 2011, Lange’s life had been a struggle.
“Even your daily things, like grocery shopping, it was a lot more difficult than what it is now,” Lange said. When we went grocery shopping, I had to use the electric cart because I had so much pain.”
Lange, 48, can vividly remember the day that changed her life.
She and her friend went boating on the lake with her friend’s children.
The children were playing on a tree swing and Lange decided to join. However, when she swung, her wet hands slipped off the rope and she flew 10 feet to the water, fracturing her ankle.
Angie’s open wound sat in the bacteria-filled water for 20 minutes until the ambulance came.
She was rushed to the hospital, where she underwent four surgeries in a matter of days to fix the fracture and clean out the bacteria. The prognosis was good, but Lange continued to feel pain after being released from the hospital.
Four days passed and she went back to emergency by her son Billy’s advice.
There, she found out that the bacteria could not be stopped. Doctors recommended an amputation of the left leg and Lange knew it had to be done.
They amputated her leg below the knee.
“When we got home, we had stairs in our house. I realized I couldn’t go up the stairs at all right after,” she said. “There were so many things I was restricted from doing. I was just laying there.”
After a few weeks, Lange was fitted for temporary prostheses, but they caused her more pain than she had hoped. Without insurance enough to pay for better prostheses, she signed up for the Limbs for Life registry of hundreds in March of 2014.
She called Limbs for Life every week. She was hoping to move up on the list of amputees waiting for prostheses.
Over the course of three years, Lange’s knees began deteriorating and she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She needed a boost.
This March, she got that boost. Limbs for Life called to tell her she was at the top of list and was going to get a prosthetic leg.
“I thought, ‘Everything is going to change. I’m going to be able to walk better,’” she said. “I was walking with a cane at the time and I knew all of this is going to change. I knew I’d be able to do more than I was doing. “
It took three long weeks but Lange had her new leg. She knew exactly what to do next.
“I was so proud of myself the other day I went to [the grocery store],” she said. “I walked in and instead of getting the electric cart, I walked over to the sushi bar, got me sushi, and went to wait in line and check out. Before, that was an impossible feat. That was the first time I had been able to do that in three years.”
It was a small task, but a huge feat.
“I just had the biggest smile on my face,” she said. “It felt normal again.”
A $2,500 donation from Adams allowed Lange to get her new limb.
Limbs for Life reached out to Lange in March and told her that Adams’ only wish was to speak with someone of whom the money was helping. She happily agreed.
“Caitlin called me and we talked about what she was doing,” Lange said. “She was so enthusiastic about it. She is a very giving person and that’s hard to find nowadays.”
The two met April 23 in Conroe, Texas, Lange’s hometown. Adams’ wish came true, and so did Lange’s.