Shane’s leg

At the age of eight, Shane Smith was diagnosed with a benign type of cancer in his knee called synovial cell sarcoma. When Shane was 22, it came back in a harsh way. In February of 2001, his doctors said it was just scar tissue, but after seeking more opinions it was said that the cancer had returned. By June, Shane was an above knee amputee. In December of the same year the cancer had moved to his lungs. From what I understand by talking with his Mother, he was the type of guy that I would get along with. He was very upbeat all through his chemo and hospital time, ordering out for food and doing the best he could to live his life. On September 17, 2002, Shane passed away.

I am telling his story because a few weeks back Shane’s mother, Kathy, contacted me after one of the news stories. Kathy, who had been holding on to Shane’s prosthetic, heard what we are trying to do with Shirts For Limbs, and inquired about donating her son’s prosthetic. I have and continue to receive similar types of questions, and I am in the process of receiving limbs from a variety of situations. Most are unusable to me, but as we get Shirts For Limbs going, hopefully we can get them to amputees in need. On Thursday of last week, I met with Kathy and Allisyn (Shane’s sister) to pick up the leg. Tara and I had a great time chatting with them and hearing about Shane. After playing with the leg I could tell that it was in almost new condition. Shane’s amputation was on the right side, and mine is on the left. I knew that would not matter with the knee, but I would still need a foot. On Friday, we took the leg to my prosthestist. He had the same opinion, and the donated prosthetic will be a great starter knee for me to learn on. It should last until I am able to get something more suitable for my activity level.

Today we started the process of fitting for the leg, and casting for the socket. In the next few weeks I will be walking! This venture of Shirts For Limbs we have started has, for the time being, done what we needed it to do. I will soon have a leg, with the knee being the most expensive part. We are still going ahead with the goal of $40k, because Shane’s leg is only a temporary solution and we are looking forward to assisting the next amputee. His family’s generosity and compassion will never leave me.



  1. Tarver, I must say hearing about Shane really touched me. What wonderful news for you to share of being able to use Shane’s leg (even if it is just the knee part temporarily). When I read the part that his mother Kathy contacted you and offered you Shane’s leg, I truly was overwhelmed. It certainly has brought tears of joy to me tonight. I know how much you wanted to have your prosthetic leg, especially with “Baby” Hannant coming in a few weeks. The Lord’s timing is perfect.

    I will continue to pray for the remainder needed to reach the goal of $40K.

  2. That is totally awesome. God is so good.

  3. Wow! That’s fantastic!

  4. Wow!!!
    What an awesome story to read,Tarver!! Dad and I are so excited to see how the prayers of so many have been answered! Trust and obey!!! Shane sounds like a great guy who lived life, I can only imagine the joy on his Mom and sister’s face when they saw you handling his leg and what a great thing that your prosthestist can see it being able to be used for your first experience in walking!! We can see you walikng with Tara and Baby very soon!!
    Can’t wait to see how your “stick- to it-ness” will spur others on and to see how you will get answers for the leg with more motion will happen, it will happen!!!!!

  5. This is Allisyn, Shane’s sister here. I’m so pleased to hear the knee component will work for you!! Remember to stay patient with the process of fitting and learning to walk on the prosthesis- there will be ups and downs, don’t let that frustrate you.

    Meeting you Tarver reminded me of my brother who seemed to share many of the same attributes. Shane was optimistic yet grounded, kind, ever the life of the party, introspective, and very much a family man. I saw many of those same things in you during our conversation.

    I can say for both my mother and I it was an absolute pleasure to gift you “shane’s leg”. There is the combined aspect of healing and letting go, while at the same time anticipating the excitement over your next “big steps”. We have now expanded our circle of family and will continue to wish you, Tara and Baby nothing but the best life (and beyond) can provide.

  6. […] Tarver, Walking? It is getting so close I can taste it. Last week I took my first step on a prosthetic leg. Through the process of what we created with Shirts For Limbs and some of the press that we have received, I was donated a knee. Check the full story of how that came about out, here. […]

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