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This fundraiser ended on 11/30/12

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Greg needs your help staying on his feet. He needs help paying for medical consultation, orthotics and physical therapy.

As a kid, strangers would ask me, “What's with your foot?” I never knew what to say, since the problem wasn't with my foot at all. My foot is fine. It's my hip that's the problem. The whole right leg in fact. However, I would just answer as simply as I could: "I was born wrong."

I struggled to learn to walk, because the doctors were constantly operating on me. I was in traction at 2. I needed limb lengthening and limb realignment at ages 12 and 14, respectively. My knee was re-sculpted at 21. Yet, my incredibly talented team of doctors managed to keep me on my feet. I was able to fulfill my dreams of backpacking through Europe at 23, finishing art school at 24, and losing the extra 80 pounds I gained from a childhood of inactivity. The surgeons managed to give me a solid few years of walking. Unfortunately, a lack of continued medical care has now begun to wreak havoc on my leg once more.

I used to walk to work, which was approximately a mile journey. Presently, my arthritic hip can barely tolerate a trip down the block. I have to carefully select my days and how to use them depending on how I feel.  I have to plan to rest for certain periods if I want to go anywhere. Additionally, I feel the need to conceal my pain and pretend that I can walk as well as everyone else. My recovery period from one simple stroll through town can sometimes be days. I usually spend that time isolated and unable to feed or medicate myself. Recovery seems practically insurmountable in this suffocating cycle.

My biggest issue for walking is a lack of proper footwear. I have an extreme limb length differential. There is still a 4 inch difference in length between my legs. Without a lift for my shoes, each footstep is an over-extended pain. I received very limited physical therapy after each operation and have not had a single check up on my leg since my last surgery. That was 2007. Proper physical therapy and the right shoes would greatly increase my quality of life.

I'm an adult, but I'm still young. I try to work and maintain a social life. When I do go out with my cane in tow, I'm always interrogated by some random person wanting to know why I need the support. When I respond, "I just need a cane", the answer is never enough. I get made fun of. I know it's odd to see a young man using a cane. Most think I'm using it because it "looks cool”. There's nothing "cool" about the pain I experience. As I get weaker, I worry that my cane will turn into crutches and eventually - a wheelchair. As I get weaker, I'll recount once more that "I was born wrong." My hope is that if I get help and get stronger, I'll answer differently. I'll enjoy the world, my friends, and be allotted the ability to become an active member of my community. I won't tell people “I was born wrong.” Instead I'll say, "I lived right."

Money will go to doctors visits, orthotics, physical therapy and pain medications. Thanks for your support and help,

- Greg

About me: I'm a 27 (almost 28!) year old Graphic Artist currently based out of San Luis Obispo, California. I work as much as possible as a freelance artist and I've had some pretty big clients, including my teen pop idols Tatu, a pultizer prize winner, several local wineries and Hooked on Phonics. I also volunteer as a DJ at KCPR 91.3fm where I do a show focusing on Russian, Finnish and Scandinavian music. I actively study design, linguistics focusing on Russian, Polish and Swedish, and world geography.  I hope to continue traveling and create artworks based on my unique experiences as a differently abled traveler, in comic book form.

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