Teen amputee eager to get back on her feet, fundraises for artificial limb

An 18-year-old amputee from Conception Bay South has taken to the internet to raise money for a new artificial leg that is not covered by medicare.

'I'm really eager to get out again, walking and everything,' says Krystal Hiscock

Krystal Hiscock lost the bottom half of her right leg in December because of a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

An 18-year-old amputee from Conception Bay South has taken to the internet to raise money to pay for a new artificial leg.

"I'm really eager to get out again, walking and everything," says Krystal Hiscock, who suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumours to form on nerve tissue.

I didn't really know how to feel, I was like, 'Is this really happening?'.- Krystal Hiscock

Hiscock was forced on Dec. 15 to have the bottom half of her right leg amputated because the disease had progressed in her foot.

"On the bottom of your foot, there's a lot of soft tissue … the tumour was so intertwined with all the nerves, if they were to take out the tumour, they'd end up taking off all the soft tissue and I'd be walking on skin over bone," she said. 

"I didn't really know how to feel. I was like, 'Is this really happening?'"

Krystal was diagnosed with the disease when she was 18 months old.

Pain 'like walking on Legos'

When she was seven, a doctor misdiagnosed the tumour on her foot as being a fatty deposit.

It wasn't until 2014 that her neurologist realized the lump was indeed a tumour and that it had grown too much to be removed.

These tumours can be cancerous, and like Krystal's, they can also be very painful.

"It was like walking on Legos … I get up in the morning, put my two feet to the floor and instant sharp pain."

She still has discomfort from the surgery and experiences phantom sensations that make her feel as if her leg is still there.

While both her mother and father were in shock, they knew Krystal's positive attitude would get her through the ordeal.

Krystal Hiscock set up a GoFundMe account after her surgery to fundraise the money she needs for her artificial leg. (Krystal Hiscock GoFundMe account)

​Fundraising effort

The starting cost for a prosthetic is about $15,000, and that's beyond the resources of Krystal and her family.

I'm really eager to get out again, walking and everything.- Krystal Hiscock

She also doesn't have health insurance, and MCP will not cover the cost of artificial limbs.

After receiving suggestions from friends and sharing the idea with her parents, Krystal set up a GoFundMe account to raise the money she needs.

"I'm at the point now where I'm healing really welI, I'll soon get my sock that shapes my stump, and then I get to go get my prosthetic, so that's pretty close," Krystal told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

She created her account on Saturday. Within a few days, it had already raised more than $1,400.

Krystal also contacted War Amps Canada about funding, and submitted an application. While that organization pays for all prosthetics for children under the age of 18, she's worried she may not qualify because she's over the age limit.

"We're trying to be, like, better safe than sorry, and to raise it and then get my leg, said Krystal.

Krystal's father suffers from neurofibromatosis also but the tumor on Krystral's foot was so intertwined with the nerves, doctors said her only option was amputation. (Andrew Sampson/ CBC)

Father's pain

Krystal's father, Chucky, also suffers from the disease. He inherited it from his father and said he can't help but feel responsible for his daughter's plight.

While he doesn't suffer from the same pain as Krystal, he has had his share of problems. At the age of 12, doctors found a tumour on his pelvis.

During the removal of the tumour, an additional growth next to his spinal cord was found, which could have caused paralysis. That tumour was also later removed.

"Luckily I'm walking but this [tumour] is after taking over the nerve going to my right side, the sciatic nerve," he said.

In the meantime, Krystal gets around using crutches, a walker and a wheelchair.

When she does get her limb, she will have to complete the necessary therapy to learn how to use it.