WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 11, 2010, 09:42 AM

Detroit Lakes teen overcomes yet another obstacle

Detroit Lakes, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A teen-ager from Detroit Lakes has endured her share of heart-aches, but tonight her story of victory. Tiffany Moe beat a battle with cancer, but it meant losing a leg and hip, but technology has advanced so much recently, that computers now help her with every step.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

With a little space age hardware attached to her right side...

“This is all done with computer and blue tooth.”

Tiffany Moe has already proven all the doubters wrong.

“The older units, there is something to be said because engineers worked on those. They are basically a door hinge, single axis joint. They don't have centers of rotation. The hip is very complex. It goes through 3 different dimensions and this unit does that.

A few years ago, bone cancer claimed Tiffany's foot leg and hip.

“And the doctors told me I would never walk again.”

She got around on crutches.

“I was really depressed and they gave me a lot of pain medicine. And I abused them.”

Then came along The Helix Hip Joint and C-leg.

“You plug this in and off the internal battery it powers the blue tooth.”

Once you sift through the technology talk, Prosthesis Expert Mike Filloon explains how sensors, micro-prossesors, a Blue Tooth and a lap top all work to tweak, calibrate, and tell Tiffany's leg how to and when to move.

“And when she is swinging, the microprocessor will re-calibrate 50-times a second.”

It has given me a lot of new hope. As far as I thought, I was going to be using crutches.”

Using the stairs used to be hard for anyone using a prosthetic, but this leg is so smart that the microprocessors in it actually decelerate Tiffany as she goes down the steps.

“I don't know how it works, I just use it.”

For Tiffany, another battle won. It's been tough, battling cancer and an addiction to pain pills, but now, after living with a foster family and getting this new leg, a new life.

“I plan on going into ministry. I have been through a lot in my life, so I think I can touch a lot of people.”

Tiffany at one point wanted to quit school, now she's talking college. She is a young lady whose obstacles only made her stronger. Tiffany will walk and get her diploma at Detroit Lakes High School, this spring.