She's a strong young woman who has overcome disabilities. A custom prosthetic leg will let this avid cyclist pedal a tandem bike without pain.
An East Tennessee woman doesn't let her physical disabilities get in her way.
A prosthetic leg features a solid, flat foot and a flexible liner to make cycling more comfortable for an East Tennessee tandem bike rider. Emily Stroud and Brian Holt
Twenty three years ago Sarah Holloway was born early and suffered some serious health consequences. She's visually impaired and that's not all.
"My left leg had to be amputated below the knee and my hips are extremely unstable and my right hip had to be replaced," Sarah Holloway explained.
Over the years, prosthetist David Sellers has fitted her with prosthetic legs.
"From day one he's just treated me like I'm one of his own daughters. And he's just such a special guy," she said.
David Sellers said, "I get to see her not as much as I used to but she comes in to see me for maintenance."
It's time for a new one. Here's why. Sarah is part of a group called Club VIBES. It pairs people who are blind with people who can see to ride tandem bikes. And her prosthetic leg isn't such a great fit.
"I'm getting a new prosthesis because the current one I have now is not built for cycling. It's built for walking," she said.
Pedaling is an entirely different move from walking so her current prosthesis hurts her when she cycles.
"With the original leg I could only go about 10 miles and it would start rubbing and causing blisters and just causing me extreme pain," she said.
David said, "We have to make sure we have the correct length and that point so she can get the full extension."
He created this specialized prosthesis with a solid flat foot and flexible liner that's not really stable enough for walking but perfect for pedaling.
"When we put the clip on it's going to be mounted on the bottom and we're going to have a good stability," he explained.
About half way through her appointment, David Thomas rolled in his bicycle built for two.
He is her tandem bike partner in Club VIBES. He pilots from the front seat and Sarah is the stoker on the back seat. The other David asked him to help with the fitting because he knows where the cleat should fit on the new foot and how long the leg should be for optimum pedaling.
Sarah said, "I never would have dreamed that I would be cycling or doing any type of exercise and now that I am able to do that it's truly an amazing thing and it's really helped me a lot to regain my strength."
The two Davids make suggestions and make some adjustments.
"I'm not having to pay for any of this," Sarah said. "He is donating the service to me and that is just truly amazing and I will never be able to repay him for doing that for me."
David Sellers said, "I wanted to do this for her. Components and stuff is nothing to me. I want to see her succeed in what she wants to do."
She's already had a lot of success with help from both her prosthetist and tandem bike partner.
Sarah Holloway plans to help others in her career.
"I want to go to medical school and become an orthopedic doctor," she said.
The group Sarah bikes with is planning a cycling trip in California this summer.
It is the Cycling for Sight bike tour. The two day ride will range from 150 to 200 miles.
If you would like to support the group's trip or volunteer to pilot for local tandem biking, then go towww.club-vibes.org