The best advice I can ever give to amputees is you can achieve any goal or dream as long as you have the drive and determination.
When most people think of amputee fashion models, they think of Aimee Mullins. What many don’t realize, however, is that Bulow’s own Director of Patient Services Michelle Prichard has done such work—as well as having competed in pageants and broken swimming records.
Michelle was born with a congenital birth defect PFFD (Proximal Focal Femoral Deficiency). PFFD is a lower extremity congenital abnormality that ranges from a mild shortening of the femur to severe deficiency of the bone. In her case, while she was born with a fully developed foot and knee, her femur did not develop.
“At 18 months, my parents had a difficult decision to have my right foot amputated and knee fused at UCLA Medical Center,” Michelle said. “I could not agree more with the decision they made. Several months after surgery, I was fit with a complete ‘Above the Knee’ Prosthesis.”
Early on, Michelle was involved in pageants to help with self-esteem, which led in to commercials, print work and modeling for years. She swam on her local swim team for many years and broke several swimming records that she still holds to this day. She also skied at the age of 4 and went on to roller skating and blading!
As time went on, Michelle ended up having to find a new Prosthetist and heard great things about Bulow OPS. She decided to reach out to see if they would like to be involved in the non-profit she founded called Mending Limbs Organization. Mending Limbs was created to raise awareness for adequate prosthesis coverage for amputees and financially assist those in need. They decided it was a great fit to work together and went on from there.
Michelle got married and had two beautiful, healthy girls. She then was given what she considers the opportunity of a lifetime, which was working with Bulow as the Director of Patient Services. She couldn’t say yes fast enough and is extremely humbled to be able to help impact and change the lives of others. In addition to marketing, she currently heads Bulow’s CAREs Program. This program offers emotional support and resources to patients and families pre and post amputation. She continues her work with patients and their families providing support and education while they go through this process. She has realized over the years how important it is to love what you do every day and thinks it’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to offer patients hope.
When asked what advice she has for new amputees, Michelle says, “The best advice I can ever give to amputees is you can achieve any goal or dream as long as you have the drive and determination. The road is not easy at times so never give up. Don’t let you being an amputee define the person you are. Your prosthesis is just along for the ride. I love this quote and rely on it always: ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Since the day a friend told me those words from Ghandi, they’ve been a constant reminder that there’s a reason God gave me this opportunity to inspire, be inspired, and make myself an example of success over adversity.”