“From day one, I decided I’m not ever going to let my son feel limited. If he wants to try something, he’s going to try it. If he fails, he fails.”
This has been Jen Seitz’s attitude ever since the day Logan was born with amniotic band syndrome, causing him to be a below-knee amputee from birth. It’s this same attitude that has led her son to break six national records, run a 5K in 26 minutes, and play baseball in the Paralympic Junior Nationals – all by the age of eleven.
But the road hasn’t been easy for Jen and Logan.
“Logan’s diagnosis was a surprise. So when he was born, I had no idea what to do or how to access anything,” Jen remembers.
As a single mom with no connection to other amputees, Jen felt like she was navigating the world of prosthetics in the dark. Even with excellent insurance, she still found it challenging to keep up with Logan’s prosthetic needs, given his high activity levels.
That’s When Logan’s Prosthetic Started to Feel Limiting.
When Logan turned seven, Jen remembers feeling particularly frustrated.
“He kept ripping through his sleeve every 48 hours,” Jen explains. “And we’d have to wait two weeks to get a new one each time.”
Without this sleeve, Logan could not use his prosthetic leg – which meant he could no longer be as active as he wanted to be. Jen could see that Logan’s prosthetic equipment was starting to limit him.
“I didn’t want to keep him from being active just to protect his sleeve,” Jen says. “He just wanted to be a regular kid. I had to find a way to make that happen.”
Jen could see online that there was a whole world of amputees doing hardcore competitions – so she knew more resilient prosthetic equipment existed. She just had to find it.
Jen Began Her Search for a Like-Minded Prosthetic Company.
Hoping to get some insight on where to turn, Jen started posting on an Amputee Facebook Group. One of the members was adamant: reach out to James Spiegel.
James Spiegel, or Jimmy as he’s known to Jen and her family, is the Vice President of Allcare, a patient advocate, and a below-knee amputee, just like Logan.
“I messaged Jimmy on Facebook, and a week later, he and Mike made the two-hour drive to my parents’ house,” Jen says. “They met the whole family that day. Really, they’ve been a part of our family ever since.”
Mike took a look at Logan’s current prosthetic to see where the issues were – while James and Logan connected on a level Logan had never experienced, sharing the same limb difference.
“If my mom doesn’t understand a problem I’m having, we just ask Jimmy, and he’ll know exactly what I’m talking about because he’s gone through it too,” Logan says. “I never had that before.”
Jen quickly learned that the philosophy at Allcare was completely in sync with her own: they all want to see Logan as active as possible. But keeping up with an athlete like Logan often requires more than your everyday prosthetic.
Keeping up with Logan’s Lifestyle Requires a Bit of Innovation.
Like when Logan decided to revolutionize the running blade – being the first ever to use it for baseball. As a kid known for stealing bases, the blade allows him to push himself harder.
The only issue: it would slip when he pitched on artificial mounds. When Mike learned about this problem, he custom-designed a cleated blade so Logan would no longer have to switch legs between innings.
“Mike innovates things as our needs come up,” Jen says. “They really want to give people that active lifestyle at Allcare. And they’ll do anything to support you. They connected us to a whole community we didn’t even know existed.”
Logan & Jen Get Connected to Allcare’s Amputee Support System.
Before that day at Jen’s parents’ house, Jen didn’t know much about the support system within the amputee community. And at seven years old, Logan had yet to meet another child like himself.
“Allcare opened up a slew of doors for us,” Jen recalls. “They introduced us to the Amputee Coalition and told us about a conference they were holding in Kentucky.”
Jen knew how important it would be for her son to meet other amputees his age. It was something he was clearly missing in his life. But after three of their flights to Kentucky were canceled due to bad weather, things started looking grim.
“I remember being so upset, thinking we couldn’t go,” Logan remembers. “I really wanted to meet other kids like me.”
Jen knew how much Logan needed this. So she changed Logan into his pajamas, got in the car, and drove nine hours through the night from Philadelphia to Kentucky.
“I was up all night driving, and then we were up all day,” Jen recalls. “But I don’t regret it for a second. We made so many lifelong connections that day.”
One of those connections being Logan’s best friend and fellow competitor at Nationals, Reid.
“I was very happy because it was the first time I got to see other amputees my age,” Logan says.
Logan also met a staff member from the Challenge Athletes Foundation that day, which ultimately led him to receive a 2018 grant for an Össur running foot and an invitation to the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge.
“Being with all those other amputees, especially the older kids, changed my idea of how I see myself,” Logan says. “Before, if someone told me I couldn’t do something, I would get upset. But now, knowing these other amputees, it changed my mind about what I can do.”
Logan’s athletic abilities, strong will, and cool confidence – all of which he got from his mom – definitely make him a rising star to watch. Logan’s eyes are set on the Paralympics, something he can try to qualify for in just three short years, at the age of fourteen.
Thank you, Jen & Logan, for Being an Inspiration.
Jen and Logan are an inspiring example of how a positive attitude, determination – plus a little help from the right prosthetics – can take anyone to incredible heights, no matter their limb difference.