Custom prosthetic helps teenager regain love of dance

Jul 17, 2021 | Media page

Fifteen-year-old Delaney Unger is an avid dancer who was sidelined by a rare cancer diagnosis that resulted in the loss of the bottom part of her left leg. Thanks to an anonymous donor of the one2one USA Foundation, the teenager from Selden was outfitted with a custom prosthetic from A Step Ahead Prosthetics in Hicksville last month.

In 2016, Delaney was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. In 2017, she underwent a novel reconstructive surgery at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, called rotationplasty amputation, on the bottom portion of her left leg.

“I am beyond grateful to the one2one USA Foundation and A Step Ahead Prosthetics for giving me the opportunity to have a specialized dance leg which will help me with my technique,” said Delaney. “I am looking forward to being able to perform with my new leg on stage with my dance company as well as on the football field and national competition with my school’s kick line team.”

Erik Schaffer, founder and CEO of A Step Ahead Prosthetics, said that his company built a unique high activity dance prosthesis specifically designed for Delaney.

“In Delaney’s case, we custom built a Van Nes high-activity dance prosthesis with an adjustable ankle that is sure to keep up with her activity level and aspirations,” said Schaffer. “When you find the perfect balance between the device and the person’s capabilities, the technology becomes transparent. Seeing Delaney trying out her dance prosthesis for the first time with such grace and confidence just confirms my belief.”

Schaffer said that the mission of his company, which is located at 132 Newbridge Road, is to give individuals with limb loss the tools, information and resources necessary to achieve their goals.

“We believe that every amputee deserves the latest technology without reservations. From what I’ve learned over the years, it’s not just about the latest in technological advances, it’s about transcending all of that. My goal is to remain highly involved with all of my patients, and to keep pushing this industry forward.”

Delaney has been very brave in her journey overcoming a cancer diagnosis that came as a shock to her and her family.

“When I was first diagnosed, I said to myself that I want to be an inspiration  and just keep smiling and do what I always did,” said Delaney. “I don’t want to be that person who says I can’t do something because of a stop in the road. As long as you try and you can’t do it that’s okay. But you have to try.”

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