Lari Guna Kaki Palsu

Kehadiran Celeste Corcoran yang bertopi kuning segera disambut dua sukarelawan untuk membantu wanita yang menggunakan kaki palsu itu berjalan meredah padang. Menariknya, salah seorang sukarelawan yang membantunya itu juga berjalan menggunakan sepasang kaki palsu.

“Kalau bersiar di mana-mana, kita akan lihat di sekeliling kita semua orang mempunyai sepasang kaki. Sana-sini orang ‘mempamerkan’ kaki mereka terutama pada musim panas. Ketika itulah kadang-kadang saya rindukan kaki saya,” kata Corcoran sambil menahan sebak.

“Tetapi apabila berada di sini dan melihat semua orang berjalan pantas, malah ada yang berlari dengan kaki palsu, saya rasa lebih tenang,” katanya selepas menghadiri klinik larian untuk mangsa pengeboman Maraton Boston dan individu lain yang kehilangan kaki akibat pelbagai sebab.

“Apa yang saya mahukan kini boleh melakukan semula semua kerja yang saya buat dulu, saya rasa saya boleh lakukannya. Saya akan cuba sebaik mungkin untuk menghargai kehidupan ini dan bersyukur diberikan peluang meneruskan hidup,” sambungnya.

Puluhan orang yang kehilangan kaki berkumpul di padang olahraga Harvard bersama keluarga masing-masing walaupun hujan. Bersama kumpulan itu ialah juruterapi fizikal dan sukarelawan. Mereka sanggup meredah hujan untuk belajar berlari atau berlari dengan lebih baik dengan menggunakan kaki baru iaitu kaki palsu.

Corcoran yang kehilangan kedua-dua kakinya dalam satu letupan di garisan penamat Maraton Boston sebelum ini jarang menyertai sebarang acara larian. Namun dia berharap satu hari nanti dia boleh bersama-sama memeriahkan larian persahabatan itu bersama rakan lain.

“Sudah lama saya teringin nak jadi pelari, tetapi dulu saya asyik mengalami kecederaan pada tulang kering. Sekarang saya sudah tidak ada tulang kering, jadi harapnya lepas ini tidak akan alami kecederaan lagi,” katanya bergurau.

Agaknya Corcoran selalu menjadikan perkara itu sebagai gurauan yang membuatkan anaknya sudah menerima hakikat pergerakan ibunya kini tidak selincah dulu. Sydney Corcoran, 18, juga memakai topi kuning dan seluar sendat panjang yang jelas menunjukkan parut teruk, tetapi mujurlah kecederaan dialaminya masih boleh dirawat. Ketika kejadian berkenaan, dia dan ibunya berada di Jalan Boylston menunggu ibu saudaranya menamatkan larian.

Di seberang padang, seorang kanak-kanak lelaki yang umurnya tidak lebih empat tahun belajar menendang bola menggunakan dua kaki palsunya yang diperbuat daripada fiber-karbon.

“Di barisan belakang sana ada banyak lagi cerita yang memberi inspirasi,” kata Benoit Samuelson yang dua kali memenangi Maraton Boston ketika permulaan klinik berkenaan.

“Cogan kata kami ialah ‘Tiada Garis Penamat’. Di luar sana ada banyak lagi cabaran yang perlu dihadapi. Anda yang datang hari ini adalah jurucakap bagi cabaran berkenaan,” katanya.

Klinik larian berkenaan dianjurkan Challenged Athletes Foundation bagi membantu golongan yang kehilangan kaki dan mengalami kecacatan lain untuk terbabit dalam sukan. Klinik larian itu berjaya mengumpulkan mangsa Maraton Boston, mereka yang alami kecacatan ketika bertugas dalam tentera atau sebab lain.

Jurulatih Bob Gailey mengajak peserta melakukan pelbagai pergerakan dan kemudian menyuruh mereka beratur bagi melepasi halangan yang menjadi acara kemuncak dalam klinik larian berkenaan.

Peserta yang mahir berjaya menamatkan perlumbaan. Ada yang jatuh, ada yang nampaknya mengalami kesukaran untuk berjalan silang di celah-celah kon atau mengharungi cabaran meniti di tepi tali. Biarpun sesetengah aktiviti itu sukar, mereka benar-benar gembira berada di situ.

Seorang wanita yang berjaya menamatkan cabaran berkata dengan kuat, “Saya tidak akan jatuh lagi kali ini”, sambil tersenyum gembira. Seorang wanita lain pula bangga memakai kemeja-T yang tertulis ‘Saya Champutee’ (gabungan perkataan champion (juara) dan amputee (orang yang jalani amputasi atau pemotongan tangan atau kaki).

“Ia memang memberi inspirasi dan semangat,” kata David Driscoll, doktor yang bertugas di khemah perubatan tidak jauh dari garisan penamat pada hari perlumbaan bersejarah itu. Anak lelakinya, Brendan yang dilahirkan dengan kecacatan tibia dan fibula (tulang kaki), membuka hati Driscoll untuk menjadi sukarelawan dengan yayasan terbabit.

“Saya rasa sungguh terharu melihat mereka datang menyertai klinik ini dan berusaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk melepasi cabaran. Ia secara tidak langsung turut mengubat hati saya dan memberi dorongan untuk berusaha lebih gigih. Saya tidak mahu kata, inilah takdir saya. Tapi saya mahu jadi macam mereka,” katanya.

Ramai mangsa yang kehilangan kaki akibat letupan pada hari maraton berdarah itu memanggil kaki palsu tahan lasak sebagai kaki harian mereka. Untuk berlari, lebih mudah jika menggunakan kaki palsu fiber karbon, dianggap kaki harimau bintang yang dipopularkan oleh atlet Olimpik, Oscar Pistorius. Malangnya pembelian kaki jenis ini tidak termasuk dalam perlindungan insurans.

Knights of Columbus yang sebelum ini menyediakan kaki palsu untuk mangsa gempa bumi di Haiti pada 2010, membantu mangsa maraton memiliki kaki palsu yang sesuai untuk berlari atau kaki palsu lain supaya mereka dapat kembali menjalani kehidupan normal.

“Kita tidak boleh biarkan terus hidup dalam keperitan dan kesedihan. Inilah sebabnya kami beri perhatian kepada kumpulan ini,” kata jurucakap Knights of Columbus, Andrew Walther.

Bagi Heather Abbott yang kehilangan kaki kiri dalam maraton berdarah itu memerlukan empat jenis kaki palsu iaitu kaki harian, kaki kalis air untuk berenang, kaki yang membolehkan dia memakai kasut tumit tinggi dan kaki berlari.

“Saya cuba lakukan semua perkara yang saya lakukan dulu,” katanya.Ossur, pembuat kaki palsu mendermakan kaki palsu fiber karbon kepada Abbott. Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics pula menghadiahkan kaki palsu jenis lain kepadanya. Tanggungjawab memberi latihan pula diambil Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Ketika seronok berlatih, Abbott berhenti seketika dan membuka kaki palsunya untuk memeriksa jika kakinya yang kudung itu melecet. Apabila didapati semuanya dalam keadaan baik, dia memakai semula kaki palsunya. – AP

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