Cali Overcast of Fountain, Colo., was only 4 years old when the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place, but she has never forgotten the impact it had on her young life.
“I remember how badly I felt that all of those people had died and gotten hurt, so from then on I decided to support our country and the men and women fighting to protect it,” Overcast stated in a press release. “My first leg brace I received later that year, I put an American flag on it.”
In her winning Otto Bock Socket Art Contest essay, Overcast explained that she was born with a type of dwarfism called Ollier’s that affected the growth of her left leg and has required 14 surgeries. She has also survived spinal meningitis, but a staph infection required the amputation of her leg when she was just 9 years old.
|Cali Overcast won the Otto Bock HealthCare Socket Art Contest.|
|Image: Otto Bock HealthCare
“When I woke up, I remember how I thought about how I was going to deal with this, how kids were going to accept me, if I could have a normal life and be accepted,” she explained in the essay. “Then I remembered something my mom always told me, that there is always someone dealing with something worse.”
Overcast’s winning socket art has a camouflage background and military logos on the front and a red, white and blue eagle below. The back of the socket is dedicated to her brother Virgil Scott Bonner, a Marine who is currently stationed in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
In addition to showing her support for the military through her socket art, Overcast dedicated her time to talking to wounded service members and speaking at benefit fundraisers for them. Her hope is that sharing her experiences of life after limb loss inspires them during their recovery.
“We are certainly inspired by this young girl’s dedication to a cause close to her heart and how she uses her socket art to reflect that intense commitment,” Karen Lundquist, director of corporate communications for Otto Bock HealthCare stated. “We are impressed with her ability at such a young age to put aside the challenges of her own continuing medical issues and focus instead on helping others.”