In 2019, Charlene Hering underwent a revision lumbar fusion surgery in an attempt to ease her chronic back pain. Approximately two weeks after the surgery, she started experiencing severe nerve pain and numbness in her left leg. The doctor conducted an MRI and said there was nothing structural that was causing the symptoms Charlene was exhibiting.

Summer was ending and despite her increasing back pain, Charlene had to return to her job as a teacher to help take care of her family. She struggled with pain while teaching and when the school year concluded, she met with a neurologist. Another MRI showed that Charlene’s back was now worse off than prior to her surgery. Because her fusion had already solidified, doctors were unable to help her.

Charlene’s nerves were compressed and impinged for so long that she lost all function of her left leg and had to start using a wheelchair to get around. Due to her situation, Charlene made the difficult decision to resign from her teaching position after 13-years in the classroom, which significantly impacted the family’s finances.

Charlene recently received approval from her insurance to receive a unipalegic leg brace that will help her relearn to walk with her left leg. Unfortunately, her disability claim to pay for the full cost of the brace was denied because her back injury was classified as a pre-existing condition. 

Hope Strengthens Foundation jumped in to cover the co-payment cost for the brace. Thankfully, the brace fit perfectly and it was exactly what Charlene needed to give her the independence that she has longed for. 

Hope Strengthens Foundation is also assisting Charlene with her physical therapy sessions that will help her become stronger and more accustomed to using the brace. 

Here is a video of Charlene using the brace at a recent physical therapy session as she works hard to improve her mobility: