Utah woman gets new prosthetic legs one year after near-death experience

Murray, Utah — Wednesday was a brand new day for a mother of five who was involved in a near-death accident a year ago.

Heather Vanboerum, 51, has received new and improved prosthetic legs that allow her to do things she never thought possible.

“They feel so good. These feel like my legs, a lot more than my other legs,” said Vanboerum as she was fitted with the new prostheses at the Hanger Clinic in Murray. “The others were big and heavy, and these feel smooth and light.”

With these new prosthetic legs, she’ll be able to enjoy the beach and sea when the family plans to leave for Florida later this week.

It was a year ago, on the evening of December 20, that Vanboerum was crossing the Murray Costco parking lot when she was hit by a car. The impact severed her right leg and left her left leg dangling.

“I looked at my legs and saw a lot of blood,” said Vanboerum.

Luckily, just across the parking lot is the Intermountain Medical Center, which has an emergency room for such accidents. Coincidentally, her husband Don is a trauma surgeon at the hospital. He was on the phone with her at the time of the accident and heard her screams and the loud crash.

He ended up rolling his own wife into the trauma room.

“I want to be a husband, but I also want to fix it because that’s what I do,” he told KSL TV earlier this year shortly after the accident.

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Now a year later, Vanboerum said she never thought she could go back to doing normal, everyday things.

“I think I was really scared and scared, and that’s why I didn’t even want to imagine that I would be able to do the things that I’m doing now,” she said.

“She ticked off goals faster than most people and just blew us away with her performances,” said Wendy Remington Brewer, manager of the Hanger Clinic, which provided Vanboerum with prosthetic legs.

And with Vanboerum’s attitude and family support, who knows what’s next.

“She has no boundaries,” Brewer said. “If you can dream it, we can find a way to make it happen.”

Vanboerum hopes to strengthen herself so she can ski next year and hit the tennis court in the spring.

“My ultimate goal is to move on and live life to the fullest,” she said.

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