Kiera's C-Leg Story
Kiera Roche’s bionic leg from Ottobock helps keep her children safe and provides the confidence to be a great parent in the wake of a catastrophic road accident
Kiera Roche, an active sportswoman from Surrey, lost her leg in 2001 following a road accident. After a number of operations Kiera’s right leg was amputated above the knee, however she has not let this affect her life. Now a mother of two, Kiera has spoken out about how important it is for amputees to feel that their prosthesis aids them in parenting and provides the confidence to be great parents.
“It is common for first time mothers to experience some sort of anxiety during pregnancy, whether it is around the health of themselves and their child or around the responsibilities that lie ahead,” states Kiera. “As a mother, I can say that parents who are amputees are no different, except that in addition to the usual worries we also contend with anxiety about how a prosthesis will fit in with parenthood. Concerns include how we will run after our children if they run off, if we have the stability to carry them and whether we will have the energy to keep up with them.”
Kiera runs her own charity LimbPower that focuses on helping amputees rebuild their lives through participation in sports and arts. Since losing her leg, Kiera has also partaken in many sporting challenges and given birth to her two daughters. Kiera currently uses a range of prostheses, having six in total used for various activities such as running, cycling and water sports. For her everyday life she uses a C-Leg from Ottobock, a microprocessor knee (MPK) that uses on-board sensors to react close to real time and adapt to her movement, providing knee stability the moment it is needed. These features mean she is able to walk down ramps and stairs step-over-step and manoeuvre rough terrain with a greatly reduced fear of falling.
Kiera explains: “There is a perception that a microprocessor knee like the C-Leg should just be for active amputees but this is simply not the case. It gives stability and stance control in everyday situations, meaning that I feel perfectly safe holding my child. By providing amputee parents access to microprocessor knees, it will provide reassurance and counter many worries. Even being able to go to classes with my daughters and being able to sit with my legs crossed is a huge benefit for me, along with having the ability to move quickly to keep up with the kids!”
Kiera was recently in a situation where her C-Leg helped keep her child safe, when an alternative prosthesis may not have done the same job. “As I live in the countryside it is very dark at night. I was leaving a friend’s house and there were some pot holes in the road. I was carrying my two year old at the time and as my foot went into a pot hole I felt myself falling. As I did my C-Leg ‘stumble control’ feature kicked in preventing me from falling which, if it hadn’t, could have resulted in a serious accident for both me and my daughter.”
Ken Hurst, Prosthetist at Ottobock adds: “Microprocessor knees are not just for those who lead an active lifestyle. They can be a significant component to improving rehabilitation outcomes and quality of life for a wide range of suitable above the knee amputees. Some of the advantages that MPKs can improve include walking and standing stability. Different modes are also provided for adapting to chosen activities. Above-the-knee amputees with children would significantly benefit from the use of an MPK if they are deemed suitable. Like it has done for Kiera, the correct prosthesis can bring a new confidence to parenting when it comes to both safety and keeping up with little ones.”