Dover runners will use prosthetics in 5K race

Union Leader Correspondent
November 22. 2017 1:00AM
Two Seacoast residents will be participating in the 5K Dover Turkey Trot with specialists from Hanger Clinic in Somersworth. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DOVER — Two patients at the Somersworth Hanger Clinic will be using prosthetic technology to run the Dover Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving.

Michelle Proulx, 39, of Somersworth, had her left leg amputated below the knee in May. She suffered from years of chronic pain due to a childhood injury to her sciatic nerve.

“It became a big issue,” Proulx said Tuesday. “The last two years were really bad.”

Proulx said she made the decision to have the amputation in 2016. It was a year before the surgery was performed.

Proulx said she used to participate in the Dover Race Series with girlfriends and would be nervous about being the last runner to cross the finish line.

“Now, I would be OK with that,” Proulx said.

Proulx is using a blade style foot that has a tread on it.

Matt Prince, 24, of Greenland, is participating in the race with the leg he uses every day. He was born without his right leg and wears a prosthetic above the knee.

Prince said he’s also into rock climbing and riding bikes.

“This is the longest I have ever run,” Prince said of the 5K Turkey Trot.

Proulx and Prince will be joined during the race by a team of more than 20 people, including Hanger Clinic staff members Paul Jenkins and Christopher Aiken. Jenkins said Proulx and Prince are peer counselors for those who need prosthetics.

“A lot of times people are feeling a loss,” Jenkins said of people who have undergone amputations. “They can speak about it at a user level to help with that grief.”

Jenkins and Aiken said they see 30 to 40 patients a day, and no two days are the same at the clinic. They may be called to a hospital at any moment because they deal with the loss of both arms and legs.

Jenkins said that when a person comes into their clinic, they spend a lot of time listening to them because they want to help that individual live life to the fullest using the latest technology.

Hanger Clinic was founded by the first amputee of the Civil War in 1861. They operate more than 800 patient care clinics nationwide, including their Somersworth location in New Hampshire, according public relations specialist Meghan Williams.

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