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Devyn turns sadness from stares into drive to help others with limb differences

Eight-year-old Devyn Whitney has a pink prosthetic leg decorated with pretty sugar skull owls that glow in the dark. It drew a lot of attention on a hot day last summer, when Devyn and her family visited an art fair in their hometown of St. Joseph. And not in a good way.

“I was scared and sad, because people were staring at me,” said Devyn, who was born without a fibula, a rare condition known as fibular hemimelia. She also was missing several bones in her hands, feet and toes.

She had several surgeries, including the amputation of her lower right leg. Five months shy of her third birthday, Devin was fit for her first prosthetic. She’s had 10 since.

“Her amputation has never stopped her,” said her mom, Stephanie Watkins.

While the experience at the art fair was difficult, it prompted Devyn to want to help other kids like her. The family decided to raise money for Mary Free Bed’s Center for Limb Differences, where Devyn has been a patient since she was a baby, and sell bracelets with the words “Devyn’s Defenders.”

“It’s gone above and beyond what we thought would happen,” Stephanie said of the community’s support.

Stephanie, Devyn and her twin brother, RJ, recently presented a check for $1,600 to Dr. Michael Forness, above, and other members of Devyn’s team at the Center for Limb Differences. It will be used to help fund the center’s annual picnic for patients and their families.

Devyn’s story was shared by The Herald-Palladium in St. Joseph, where the family lives. Read “This is Me” here.

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