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Valerie- Tissue recipient

Strengthened to Serve Special Needs Children

Valerie Miller is an occupational therapist with a unique perspective of children with special needs. Since birth, she has struggled with dislocating kneecaps. Her right knee had been dislocating a couple of times a year. Despite multiple visits to doctors in her home state of Kentucky, no one could figure out the cause of her ailments. It was not until she was 28 years old while evaluating a patient during her clinical rotation that she saw similarities in her symptoms and decided to get an evaluation. Her suspicions were confirmed. She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), an extremely rare disease that weakens the connective tissue in the body, causing joints to become extremely stretchy, skin to become hyperplastic, and blood vessels to be easily damaged.

A few years later, on the 4th of July, Valerie dislocated her knee as she stepped down a flight of stairs at her parent’s home. At this point, Valerie’s medial patella-femoral ligament (MPFL) had been torn so many times that her doctor seriously doubted it would ever recover. The situation was dire, so Valerie opted to try MPFL reconstructive surgery. Because of her EDS, using her own connective tissue was not possible. However, using donor tissue became an option through the gift of a compassionate donor family.

Valerie endured a grueling nine months of recovery and rehabilitation. Fortunately, she can finally enjoy the outdoor activities she missed for so many years. She now runs after her beloved cats and goes hiking with her husband and daughter.

Valerie is grateful for the gift of donation and wrote a letter of gratitude to her donor’s family. “If I were to meet my donor family, I would want them to know that I am truly sorry for their loss and that I am grateful for what their loved one’s gift did for my life.” Valerie is now has completed her Ph.D. and spreads hope to her patients as she serves the occupational therapy needs of kids.


Story Curtesy of MTF Biologics