When Kristi Loyall was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, and her oncologist recommended amputating her lower leg and foot in order to stop its spread, she had an odd request: can I keep it?
The doctor apparently thought she was kidding. Loyall was not. “He thought I was joking, and I was like no, I really want it back,” the Oklahoma City resident said. After clearing the red tape out of the way and signing all of the appropriate paperwork, Kristi got her leg back post-op. It had been carefully preserved, and the new amputee went one step further and sent it to Skulls Unlimited, a skeleton cleaning and articulating service, to whiten the bones, pin them together and degrease them.
Then she started traveling with it.
The appendage accompanies her everywhere, and its Instagram, “One Foot Wander” has over 5000 followers. She calls it “Footzilla” and posts funny, entertaining photos of its adventures on a regular basis. Her followers admire her incredible candor and sense of humor.
Kristi is only 25 years old, though, and is trying to qualify for disability income while presently unemployed and drowning in medical bills. Qualifying for disability -while in this case, for sure, seems like it should be an obvious decision- is a lengthy and arduous process, however, and Kristi has started a GoFundMe campaign to try to get some help with her medical bills. To add insult to amputation, her insurance company has denied her claim for the prosthesis that was recommended by her oncologist, stating that they won’t cover it because it isn’t “the most basic model”. It’s not enough that she lost her lower leg and foot; now her insurance company wants her to suffer in a less-than-ideal prosthetic. On her GoFundMe site she’s asking for $10,000, and so far has only raised a little over $1,000. Her intro on the GoFundMe page is indicative of her awesome attitude and unquenchable spirit: “Hello everyone! Thank you for taking the time to read this. I would like to start by saying that anything helps; whether that be good vibes, prayers, sharing this post, or being able to donate.”
Her odd request, though, has prompted others curious about whether or not it’s possible to keep body parts after they’ve been removed, and this PBS NewsHour explains how you can follow in Kristi’s foot’s steps.
Unfortunately getting your foot cut off doesn't mean you get a free pass on your bills. I've been paying rent, my car payment, and car insurance for the past 8 months since this all started (most of that time I was off of work), and it's becoming harder to keep my head above water. I'm apply for jobs out the ass and idk what the deal is. I have never had a harder time finding a job. The job I do have is seasonal and we are in the off season until it gets warmer (I drive a boat on the canal in OKC). It came as a surprise to me that I would have to fight tooth and nail to even get approved for a disability, despite the fact that just looking at me you can see I'm missing my damn foot. Who knows how long it will take for that to be approved, if ever. What I'm saying is life is not fair and I'm tired of it. I didn't ask for any of this to happen. I would understand things being so hard if I had chosen to have my foot amputated. (I guess I did choose it, but it was literally my foot or my life.) I don't know why there aren't better resources for disabled people in the US. I hope I'm just missing something because it seems ridiculous that you have to jump through hoops (with one foot lol) to make ends meet after dealing with something so debilitating. I know I make light of my situation and that's my way of handling everything. But the constant fear of the cancer returning is very real. Every upcoming scan brings more and more anxiety. Not to mention the immense stress of my massive medical bills that I haven't even been able to start paying on. I know that there are grants out there, but I've had a hard time finding any I qualify for. I am ashamed that it's reached this point, but guys.. I need help. For 8 months I have been determined to be above this. My family, friends, even acquaintances have told me time and time again I need to share my gofundme. I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I'm finally going to share it. If you're able, anything would be greatly appreciated. If you're not, I understand completely. If you can share it on fb, instagram, anywhere I'd appreciate it more than I can express. https://www.gofundme.com/2tsr2mpu (Clickable link in bio)