Why choose Scheck and Siress for your orthotic or prosthetic needs? Our clinicians focus on helping patients achieve their mobility goals, which is evident in our patient testimonials. Read through our patientsí experiences below and the amazing impact talented clinicians at Scheck and Siress have had on their lives.
Click on the title to view the story or testimonial
Veteran, Athlete, Mentor and Prosthetist: Melissa StockwellPatient Story / BK Amputee
In 2002, Melissa graduated from the University of Colorado and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army as part of the Transportation Corps. In March 2004, she deployed with the 1st Cavalry Division to Baghdad, Iraq. On April 13, 2004, she was on a routine convoy when her HUMVEE was hit by a roadside bomb. The blast resulted in the amputation of her left leg above the knee and she became the first female to ever loose a limb in active combat. After spending a year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and undergoing multiple surgeries and rehabilitation, she was medically retired from the Army. For her courageous service, she was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
Following her retirement from the Army, athletics become a way of life for Melissa. In April of 2008, Melissa became the first Iraqi War Veteran to qualify for the Paralympics when she earned her spot on the U.S. Swim Team. In the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, she represented the U.S. in the 100 freestyle, 400 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. She was also selected to carry the American flag in the Beijing closing ceremonies.
After Beijing Melissa turned to the sport of Paratriathlon. She has been part of the Paratriathlon national team for the past 3 years and is the current 3x Paratriathlon World Champion in the TRI2 division. She was named as the female Paratriathlete of the year for two consecutive years and has goals to compete in the 2016 Paralympics in the sport of Paratriathlon. Melissa loves any athletic challenge she can find and has also completed the NYC marathon, a ½ Ironman, and multiple running races.
In 2008, Melissa also completed the prosthetic practitioner program at Century College in Minnesota where she learned to fit other amputees with artificial limbs. She currently works as a certified and licensed prosthetist at Scheck and Siress Prosthetics in Chicago, at the UIC office. She is also a level 1 certified triathlon coach and is a co-founder of the dare2tri Paratriathlon club in the Chicago area that helps athletes with disabilities compete in the sport of Triathlon.
Melissa is a on the board of directors for the Wounded Warrior Project and loves giving back to the organization that has helped her so much throughout the years. She also does motivational speaking in hopes to inspire others to overcome any obstacles that come their way.
Melissa has been featured in number significant media outlets. The most recent and notable were the cover of USA Triathlon, CNN, Sports Illustrated, a Hartford commercial and Master swimming magazine. She was also featured in a documentary called ‘From Baghdad to Beijing’ which chronicled Melissa and 3 other wounded warrior’s journey from the roads of Baghdad to the Paralympics in Beijing.
Melissa is a proud American and has done more with one leg than she ever imagined she would do with two. She is a lover of life and looks forward to what the next couple of years will bring.
World-class Swimmer and Long-time Prosthetic PatientPatient Story / BK Amputee
Dalton Herendeen of Elkhart, Indiana, has been a below-knee amputee since birth. He's also loved sports all his life. Dalton has worked with prosthetists at the Oak Park office of Scheck & Siress to develop prosthetic legs that could keep up with his high level of activity. Dalton came to us as a child with the Shriners Hospital Prosthetic Clinic. Since then, we have followed him on an incredible journey.
Now a Sophomore at the University of Indianapolis, Dalton is a world champion athlete. He was a member of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Swim Team in London. Making the team and swimming in the same pool as Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps fulfilled his dream. Now, he is looking toward the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro to fulfill his current dream: a gold medal.
Dalton is working toward a career in Physical Therapy and swimming with the University swim team. He uses his achievements dispite his disability to inspire everyone around him. In fact, Dalton has given a few motivational talks and hopes to do more as time goes on. One of his favorite inspirational quotes if from the movie, Shawshank Redemption and reads, "Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free."
NCAA Champion magazine featured Dalton in the Winter 2013 issue. Read the article and see the photo gallery here.
With a little help from the clinicians at Scheck & Siress, Dalton is living a life without limits.
Faith: Like Any Other Four Year OldTestimonial / BK Amputee"Just wanted to say thank you, Faith is my granddaughter, and is one of the people represented on your web site. Yesterday, she was running around , and laughing like any other four year old. It brought tears to my eyes, as I thought that was something she would never be able to do. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without your company, I am sure her quality of life would be compromised.There are not enough words to fully express our gratitude.Sincerely,Nancy"
Meet Gena, High School Athlete Inspires with her Prosthetic LegPatient Story / BK Amputee
Gena, featured in this South Bend Tribune article, has been an amputee since she was a toddler. Now a freshman in high school, wearing a prosthesis has done anything but slow this busy athlete down! Click the link below to read about Gena's remarkable attitude and motivation.
South Bend Tribune,
August 20 2010
High school soccer: Prosthesis can't slow Keszei
By AL LESAR
MISHAWAKA — It takes guts for a high school freshman to wear Tinker Bell proudly ... on a prosthetic leg ... during soccer practice.
Marian's Gena Keszei doesn't let a prosthetic leg slow her down from chasing success on and off the soccer field.
Marian's Gena Keszei doesn't let a prosthetic leg slow her down from chasing success on and off the soccer field. Gena Keszei is just the young lady who could pull it off.
This Marian athlete is special.
According to her father Andy, Keszei had four surgeries on her left leg before her first birthday. A problem with the tibia finally had one solution: Amputation.
"Before we knew it, she was running around with a prosthetic leg," Andy said.
That prosthesis is all Keszei knows. She has about 12 inches of leg below her left kneecap. And an attitude that projects an amazing perspective on life.
"I'm glad it's me that this happened to," Keszei said. "Without it, I wouldn't be the person I am. It taught me to be confident. I have it for a reason, because God knew I could handle it. There are no boundaries in my life."
Soccer. Track. Dating. Shopping. Hanging with friends. No restrictions.
"There's nothing I can't do," Keszei said with a proud smile. She has fun doing it, to boot.
That's where Tinker Bell comes in.
When she was fitted for the plastic casing that connects her leg with the artificial foot, Keszei had a choice: A skin tone that would blend in, or something a bit more extravagant.
"I wanted to do something that showed my personality," Keszei said. "I wanted it to be fun. It's who I am, so why try to hide it? I thought Tinker Bell would be fun."
Keszei, who will play outside midfield for Marian's junior varsity girls soccer team this fall, has nine years of travel soccer experience behind her — and a few good stories, as well.
"Two years ago, I was playing with the Michiana Echo," the 5-foot-5, 115-pound Keszei said, not able to control the laughter. "A girl went to kick the ball, but kicked my leg instead. It went flying off. She stopped and said, 'Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry; I'm so sorry.' Everyone else on the field stopped. I picked up my leg, put it back on and scored a goal."
Keszei takes an extra foot with her to every practice and game. She has a conditioning foot, which is much better for running drills, and a regular foot that has cleats and is more conducive to kicking a ball. The feet are held on by two bolts she can quickly loosen and tighten.
"Sharp turns are tough in a game or practice," Keszei said. "The regular foot isn't designed for that."
Marian second-year varsity head coach Djamel Charmat didn't notice anything unusual in his first meeting with Keszei.
"After our first practice, my assistant (Erin Shindledecker) called me up and said, 'Did you notice we have a girl with a prosthetic leg?'" Charmat said. "I didn't."
The next day, Keszei's mother Kris contacted Charmat.
"I asked Gena, 'Is there anything I should know?' 'Are there any restrictions?'" Charmat said. "When she said, 'No,' I said, 'OK, let's go.'"
Keszei's still angry at her time in the two-mile run the whole team had to do. According to Charmat, it was 23 minutes, 45 seconds, not counting the five minutes she took changing legs in the middle of the run.
"Stop back later," she said. "I'll have a better time."
She's a sprinter, anyway. This spring she'll be running the 100, 200 and 400 meters for the Knights.
It's a matter of courage woven within the framework of a drive and desire to excel. No barriers. No limits.
Keszei's a spokesperson for the determination to defy the odds. A family friend was facing a similar fate, though later in life. Keszei embraced the opportunity to reach out.
"I wrote a long letter to this girl," Keszei said. "I talked about the pain; the blisters; the possibility of infection. I also talked about how important it is to be positive. It has the opportunity to bring out the best in a person.
"I love getting a chance to talk to people about this. When I go to the (Shriners) hospital (for Children in Chicago), I'll talk to other kids there. I know attitude is so important in being a success."
That being the case, don't worry about Gena. She'll be fine. It's just a leg.
It won't get in the way of the spirit.
Andy, Back to WorkPatient Story / BK Amputee
Andy says, "Even with a prosthetic leg, I was able to return to work as a school custodian with hardly and any limitations."
After an accident took his leg, Andy knew he had to keep working; he couldn't imagine doing anything else. Prosthetists at Scheck & Siress worked with Andy to find the most functional and comfortable leg available - the right leg for him. Since then, he got back to work, became managing custodian at a local grade school and finally decided to retire. Now, even with all the possibilities of retirement ahead, Andy knows his prosthetic leg will keep up with him.
Meet Carrie, Doing What She LovesPatient Story / BK Amputee
Carrie is a nurse in the Special Care Nursery and sayd the babies are her angels.
She could not dream of doing anything else.
Whether living her profeessional dream as a nurse or jogging with her running prosthesis,
Carrie enjoys life without limitatin.
An ordinary person can do extraordinary things wiht a little help for Scheck & Siress.
Young Patient Hopes to Pay it ForwardTestimonial / BK Amputee
"We have been getting Gena's prostheses at Scheck and Siress since Gena was a toddler. Over the years we have seen many practitioners and at a few locations but mostly John Angelico in the Oak Park office. We wouldn't consider going anywhere else for Gena's prosthetic needs. Gena is so comfortable there and we receive the best care.
John has done a great job of making sure Gena has whatever she needs to be up and running (really) and able to do whatever she wants. She is very active and likes sports, especially soccer and track! It is so nice to know that her prosthesis will never be in the way of her doing what she wants to do.
Someday Gena hopes to be a practitioner at Scheck and Siress or work at Shriners Hospital for Children so she can pay it forward and help others. We are fortunate to be surrounded by such caring people. As a mom, I know Gena is in the best of hands at Scheck and Siress. We can't thank you enough!"
Lukas Living Life without LimitsPatient Story / AK Amputee
I am an AK amputee, I had my leg amputated after a congenital birth defect. At the age of 6 I figured out how to ride a bike, on the same day I won my first baseball game.
Since that day I have been living my life without limits.
I am an avid world traveler and a professional athlete. My friends and I compose high quality athletic videos showing us riding our bikes and playing other sports. Now I am developing new products and building testing facilities. I am hoping that my work will inspire others to achieve their goals and also that we can make life a little easier for amputees.
Meet Marilyn, Enjoying her freedom againPatient Story / Living with MS
Marilyn is a mother and communtiy volunteer living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Children are Marilyn's passion.
Time spent educating and ministering to them fuels her joyful spirit.
Marilyn has regained the freedom to teach, socialize and enjoy her community, thanks to her WalkAide FES device for foot drop.
An ordinary person can do extraordinary things with a little help from Scheck & Siress.
Annie, Teen Athlete in AFO'sTestimonial / Child with Orthotics
"Annie was born 12 weeks premature and suffered a stroke at birth resulting in cerebral palsy. We were told she would not walk or talk. At age 1, Annie, already an avid talker, was starting to pull herself up. We were referred to Michael at Scheck & Siress in Oak Brook for an AFO to support her weak right leg. That was the start of a wonderful, supportive relationship. Fast forward 13 years, Annie has had many different therapists, doctors and specialists however the one constant provider has been Michael. When Annie was entering junior high, Michael told us about a new device, to help her weak leg. called a Walk Aide. He fitted her and it has become a part of her. Since it is not a brace, Annie is now able to wear all kinds of shoes without worrying about fit. She feels that she blends in with the other junior high girls and enjoys picking out more than gym shoes.
When Annie was younger she was just as active as her siblings. About age 10 she decided to take up running. She has participated in 5K races, her junior high cross country team, the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Regional games and the National Junior Disability Championships in track for the last 3 years. Annie holds several national records for short and long distance track events. Through this all, Michael has been making and adjusting AFO's to support her and give her the stability that she needs to be successful at running. Annie currently runs about 3 miles a day several days a week. Michael has recently decided to try a new type of AFO due to the intensity of her workouts. We know that he will fine tune and adjust this new brace to get it exactly right for her. He goes above and beyond to encourage and support her ….maybe one of these days she will take him up on his suggestions to start triathlons!"
Betsey managing Charcot FootTestimonial / Patient with Diabetes
"These are the best shoes ever. They are absolutely awesome!", says Betsey, a Scheck & Siress patient with diabetes.
Betsey's pedorthist, Harriet Dart, describes her patient:
"Betsy Duncan, who is a patient of Dr Pinzur, comes to mind. She is exceptional in her compliance for therapeutic footwear. We made shoes with modifications that allowed her to walk down the aisle as the mother of the bride. It was very moving ... to witness this. I have been providing her pedorthic care for almost 20 years. She requires a sophisticated shoe modification for a left Charcot foot."