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An Amputee

Takes Matters

Into His Own Hand



Braden's Story


The day before Braden Leonard lost his right hand to flesh-eating bacteria, he was an outdoor enthusiast, a veteran fireman and a dedicated member of his local Rhode Island community. It was on a regular trip mountain biking when he was thrown from his bike, hit a tree and ended up with a thorn in his hand. He chalked it up to a rough day on the trails and headed home.

But what initially seemed like a small accident landed Braden in a medically induced coma in a matter of hours. The thorn had infected his bloodstream with necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria), which was doing quick work of shutting his body down. He was given a 30% chance of survival. If they amputated his hand, it might stem the infection, but there were no promises.

Luckily, Braden beat the odds and woke up a week later. He lost his right hand, his job and his sense of normalcy, but he had his life.

At this point in the story, many amputees adapt their life to include their prosthetic, but Braden insisted on finding something that would fit his active lifestyle. He couldn’t find one, so he built one himself.

This is the story of how a mountain-biking fireman took on the entire prosthetics industry—one-handed. His do-it-yourself design has the potential to revolutionize how amputees move. And this summer, he’s taking his prototype and a motorcycle on a cross-country, on-and-off-road trip in an ultimate test of product endurance. Along the way, he’ll team up with adaptive athletes who are redefining what it means to be doers and makers.




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