SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane man who had his leg amputated five years ago is once again doing the things he loves thanks to a woman who raised thousands of dollars to help him get a new leg.
It was almost ten years ago when a van crushed Tacklebox Long's leg against a forest service gate. He underwent multiple surgeries before doctors finally amputated his leg in 2014.
Though Long was fit for a prosthetic leg following his surgery, he said the design was uncomfortable and he struggled to walk on uneven ground.
"Everyday stuff that nobody thinks about," said Long. "Everything you do, from crawling to bed to going to the bathroom to anything like that."
"I couldn't ever really walk right with it," said Long. "It just never was fit right and it was actually probably hurting, making me have more pain."
Long met with a prosthetic company to see about getting a new leg, where he learned it would cost $55,000. Though most of the expenses would be covered by Medicare, Long would be left paying $5,000 for the new leg, half of which was due up front.
So, naturally, his friend of two years Tara Crandell stepped up to help.
"I didn't realize how bad it was until we were out camping," said Crandell.
That's when she noticed Long's struggle to walk. In fact, his prosthetic was about an inch or so longer than his regular leg.
Crandell put down the payment on her credit card and set up donation jars at Cinola Bar & Grill where she works as a waitress.
Ruby's, the restaurant where Long works, also set up a donation, along with Hop n Drops. All together, the community was able to raise $5,500 for Long's new leg.
"The way I look at it, I have two good legs; I can work more. He didn't," said Crandell. "Nobody should be forced to not be able to walk."
With $500 left over, he was also able to get some new jeans, which he couldn't wear with his old prosthetic.
"Amazing how good it feels after not wearing pants for so long. It seems like a simple thing, but it feels good," Long said.
"To see him now just reaffirms everything because you can see the difference," Crandell said. "It's just been amazing."
With every step he takes now, he's grateful for what the Crandell and the community did for him.
"Sometimes I can't even find words for it," he said.
You can read more about Long and his story on the Avista Utilities Facebook page.
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