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Contact the Amputee Coalition at 888/267-5669 or amputee-coalition.org 23

that if she could do it, he could too. He planned to try again and not give up this time.

One of Paulina’s favorite stories happened when she was just a baby and hadn’t yet been ftted for her frst prostheses. She and her mom were at a grocery store checkout. While Lorraine loaded the groceries onto the counter, Paulina sat in the cart with her legs tucked under her skirt. Lorraine explains, “Paulina calls her right leg ‘Stumpy’ and her left leg ‘Toes’ because there are two fused and one separated toe on the end of her tiny partial foot. The end of Stumpy is very ticklish and she loves to have it tickled.” She continues, “An older lady behind us was talking to Paulina in a sing-song baby voice asking, ‘Where’s that little foot, where’s your foot?’ So Paulina stuck out Stumpy to be tickled. The look on the woman’s face was priceless. She ran off before I could compose myself enough to say anything.”

Another time when Paulina was a toddler, a man without a hand was shopping in the same store with them. Lorraine explains that Paulina kept asking her loudly where his hand was. Lorraine recalls, “I explained he didn’t have one. But we kept running into this same man. Finally, exasperated that she was not getting it, I pulled off her

right prosthetic leg, pointed to it and said, ‘Where’s your foot?’ She looked at his arm and her leg and said, ‘Ohhhh!’ The man almost fell over laughing. I guess he’d never seen a parent use that technique before.”

It’s obvious Paulina has an amazingly supportive family unit. Besides her older brothers Shiloh and Wesley, Lorraine and Bob adopted a boy from Poland named Marceli, who was born without legs or his left arm, when Paulina was in second grade. The Fullers clearly teach their children to focus on what is possible.

In the words of Dr. Herring, “The most important thing is not to dwell on what might be missing, but to marvel at what the child can do with what they have. After all, a child doesn’t recognize any difference from another child until 2 or 3 years of age. They instinctively learn to make the most effcient use of what they are born with.”

Today, Paulina’s infuence and inspiration certainly stretch to all those who come in contact with her, including prosthetic technician Robert Carlile, CPA, CTPO, who works with Paulina at TSRHC. Robert, an amputee himself, says he admires Paulina’s drive and passion to let nothing stand in her way. He goes on, “I would love for all children to see [her] story of dance and be

inspired to reach their goals the way [she has].”

Dance teacher Dudik echoes Carlile’s sentiment: “The fact that she’s wearing prosthetics or that she has no legs is not important. [When Paulina is on stage] all you can see is a beautiful dancer that takes you into her world where anything is possible.”

Although it’s a challenge to convince her that she may be an inspiration to others, Paulina does have some words for anyone who might have doubts about their own abilities: “Of course you can. You’ve just got to try! And if you already tried, then try again.” Clearly, that is Paulina’s way.

The Fuller family (left to right): Paulina, Lorraine, Bob,Wesley, Shiloh andMarceli

Photography by Lauren Bullock Titsworth

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