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Profile of the Week: Morgan Luttrell

By Alaina Burris
On February 1, 2019

Photo Courtesy of Morgan Luttrell

Ottawa junior Morgan Luttrell was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma when she was four months old. Four months later, she became an amputee. This type of bone cancer is extremely rare, affecting about 200 children and young adults every year in the United States.

“Each amputee is different,” Luttrell says. “We have a different support system and abilities. I’m an above knee, some are below knee, some have rotation plasties. No amputee is exactly alike.”

The cause of Ewing’s Sarcoma remains unknown. However, in some cases, the development of the tumor can be related to periods of life in which rapid growth is exhibited. Although, this does not mean that people should be concerned about the growth of tumors if there is rapid growth in teenagers.

“I was 16 months old when I went to my first prosthesis,” Luttrell says. “I learned to walk on a prosthetic.”

Luttrell has lived with a prosthetic her entire life, so she truly knows no difference between the feeling of a real left leg versus her prosthetic. Because of this, she does not see a specific impact that this change had on her life.

“I grew up this way,” she says. “I think it gives me a really positive outlook on life and a really dark sense of humor. I love to joke about my leg and my circumstances.”

Luttrell finds humor in her difference and enjoys telling jokes or making funny comments to others. When some people complain about their legs hurting, her favorite response is something along the lines of, “Well, at least you have both of them.”

At first glance, unless it’s warm outside, you wouldn’t notice that Luttrell is an amputee. With jeans on, her legs are both covered fully. You would have to be paying close attention to notice down at her ankles that one is a prosthetic. When people don’t notice, Luttrell takes that as a compliment and knows she’s doing her job.

“I came here this semester and it’s freezing, so I’m wearing jeans,” she says. “I’ll casually mention having one leg and someone will go, ‘Oh really? I didn’t notice.’”

However, in the summer when it is more noticeable, Luttrell often catches people staring at her.

“Some people pretend like they didn’t see it or like I didn’t just catch them staring at it,” she says. “It really bugs me when people try to shove their kids away.”

After five years, Luttrell had her prosthetic replaced, receiving a new one. Ideally, she could have her prosthetic fixed monthly due to the wear and tear it goes through, but that is expensive, especially when insurance doesn’t cover that much.

“Depending on the leg and what’s wrong with it, it can cost between $12,000 and $20,000,” she says.

Despite being an amputee, Luttrell does not let that stand in the way of her faith.

“Being a follower of Jesus and an amputee gives me a chance to share the Gospel with people who might not have heard it,” she says. “There are times when I pity myself and then I have to suck it up and remember that this is the race that God set before me.”

On campus, Luttrell is involved with the TAU Institute, a nonprofit organization on campus in the Fredrickson Center. She works with Campus Ministries as well as Braving Discipleship.

 

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