Toronto comedian fundraising for ‘dream’ prosthetic leg

Toronto comedian Courtney Gilmour was born missing both hands, as well as a portion of her right leg.

Prosthetic limbs have been a part of her life since she was a baby. Now 33, she is raising funds for a special prosthetic leg.

This past summer, the nearly new prosthetic limb she had on snapped while she was climbing the stairs at Ossington subway station.

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“I called my agent, who was across the street at Comedy Bar — which is where I was going to perform — and I said, ‘Hey, this is going to sound really weird, but my leg broke. I need you to come and get me,’” she recalled.

“He just came over and sort of lifted me up and Superman-carried me across the street.”

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The incident propelled Gilmour’s friends and family to act. They held a stand-up comedy night last week to raise funds and started a GoFundMe page this month to help her realize her dream.

“I’ve always said one day if I make a million dollars, the first thing I’m going to purchase is a leg,” Gilmour said. “Other people have cars and mansions that they want to buy — I’m going to get my dream leg.”

That “dream leg” is the Genium X3 by German prosthetics company Ottobock, and it comes with a hefty price tag. Gilmour is currently trying one out as part of a two-week trial.

“Essentially, it’s like a smartphone, [except it’s] a knee.”

While some coverage exists in Ontario under the Assistive Devices Program for basic prosthetic limbs, Gilmour would like to see more. She hopes that sharing her story will galvanize a broader discussion about accessibility for all.

Prosthetics she has worn in the past have cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000. She said the Genium X3 comes with a $100,000 price tag.

“I just want a normal, functioning body part and that’s what this is. If I’m telling people the features of the leg and it sounds very mundane and normal, that’s really the point. The point is [that] it’s going to function like a normal knee,” she explained.

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Gilmour insisted on penning the description on the crowdfunding page herself, offering a personal and comedic take on her life.

“This is a passion project for me, because I want people to know there are amputees everywhere who need this type of prosthetic technology,” she said.

She has affectionately dubbed the X3 her “#DreamLeg.” Once her trial with the prosthetic ends, she is hopeful she will be able to get one of her own.

The plan is to pay for it in instalments, using the crowdfunding donations.

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