Patient Stories


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

Shortly after Aaron arrived to work on January 2nd, 2007, his co-worker called to let him know that she had a flat tire on the side of the interstate and would be running late. His co-worker was pregnant and roadside assistance was going to be an hour and half before they could help her. Aaron went to help her right away – he parked his car behind hers and proceeded to fix her flat tire. At the moment he was taking the tire out of the trunk, an unaware driver hit Aaron’s car from behind, pinching him between both cars. The impact resulted in the loss of both his legs, above the knee.

Within five months Aaron was fit with custom sockets and Microprocessor knees (C-Legs) at TCOP. Within six months Aaron was walking with confidence, golfing, traveling and ready to return to work. Within seven months of the accident Aaron returned to work, had completed several rounds of golf and was living his "new normal", lifestyle. Aaron resides in the Twin Cites and enjoys spending time with his family around the house and at the cabin, traveling, golfing, swimming and attending his children's sporting events.


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

In February of 2009, Bill lost both of his legs, one leg above- and one leg below-the-knee in a snowmobile accident. After spending months in a coma, Bill recovered to begin his rehabilitation. TCOP fit Bill with a below-the-knee prostheses and a C-Leg. Bill is excited to be working with the family business, running Bill's Ace Hardware in Osceola, Wisconsin. 

"My relationship with Tillges began before I even got out of the hospital. Out of the blue, Aaron Holm, from Tillges came to see me in the hospital. The fact that they cared enough to come to the hospital and talk to me about the next chapter in my life, and the reality of the situation, was nothing less than awesome. Tillges O&P and all the employees that I've met have treated me like family and they have been very instrumental in my recovery. I truly recommend them to any and all that have a need for orthotics or prosthetics."


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

In 2009, Bud lost his left leg below-the-knee after a long battle with Peripheral Artery Disease. Bud continues to live a very active lifestyle playing league softball in the summer months and bowling in winter months. In addition, his family, yard work and running errands keep him active and busy. 

Bud says, "The ability to adapt and a good attitude are the most important things." Swing for the fences Bud!


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

In September 1992, a car turned into Chris’s lane and struck him on his motorcycle. His left foot and ankle were severely damaged by the impact. As a 21-year-old Marine at the time, he wouldn’t consider amputation and was determined to make a recovery.

"I first toured the Tillges facility in Maplewood just a few short months after being fitted for my first prosthesis at the VA Medical Center. The VA team is fantastic, but incredibly busy. I was offered the option to visit and choose a private prosthetics provider. During my tour, I met Bob Tillges and his team, several of the team members being amputees. I was impressed by the facility and the people I met, but most importantly, even without being there for an “an appointment,” Bob and the team were interested in me, my story, and my goals. I told my story and talked about what I wanted to achieve. I told them I had been sitting on the bench for 18 years, and it was time to get back in the game. We got right down to business on the spot. They were interested in me and as excited about my goals as I was.

Bob and the Tillges team have helped keep me moving forward through compassionate listening, tempering my “gung ho Marine” pace, and through creative problem solving to get me walking and active at the level I want. Credit goes to Tillges for not only getting me back on my feet, but for helping me get back to waterskiing only seven months after amputation. I can only imagine what the future holds, and by partnering with Tillges I know I’m going to get there."


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

When he was 14 years old, Dave was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. He survived the cancer, but the radiation treatment weakened the skin around his ankle and eventually infection set in. The best option was to amputate the leg below the knee.

Dave says he is thankful that he can still be active with a prosthetic limb. He played tennis on his high school team, swims, rides bikes, and started running in 2008. He now has a leg built for cycling and another built for running. In a typical year, he runs about 600 miles.

“More than any other practitioner, Tillges has attempted to understand my interests and build what I need to pursue them.”

“I really enjoyed running before I lost my limb and to be able to take it up again has been a real blessing. My Tillges practitioner went above and beyond to help me get going, including meeting me at the running track to make sure the adjustments were just right. I recommend TCOP every chance that I get.”


TCOP Orthotic Patient

Eric was injured just two hours after his birth in June of 1985 when an improperly placed catheter through his umbilical cord caused instant paralysis from the waist down. Since birth, Eric has been relying on custom braces and says the brace he most recently had built by the team at TCOP is by far, the best one he has ever had.

In 2005, Eric was introduced to sled hockey and since then he has excelled on and off the ice. As a sled hockey player, he has been named captain three straight years and has been a part of three tournament championship teams.

"As a team captain it has been fun to work with disabled athletes with various backgrounds, like former standout hockey players as well as Iraq war veterans."

Sled hockey has also helped Eric off the ice. 

"Playing sled hockey has given me the confidence to interact with able-bodied individuals. The hard work ethic and teamwork that sled hockey has taught me has also helped me excel at my job as a graphic artist at Jostens."


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

Joe of Juneau, Alaska nearly died in December 2011 after a gun that was being unloaded near him discharged, striking him in the leg. A hastily made tourniquet kept him alive until paramedics arrived, and he was then airlifted to a medical center in Seattle where it was determined it was necessary to amputate his leg, above the knee. After researching prosthetic companies, Joe and his family determined the best care would come from TCOP.

“I can’t say enough about how much TCOP changed my life and how much they changed the quality of it.”

“I am still in awe at how much we were able to accomplish while in Minnesota…Tillges has an amazing team of people! We are so grateful for all of the hard work you put in over the two weeks that we were there.”


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

As an avid skate and snowboarder, Joel never imagined dealing with limb loss or the inherent adaptation to his new life ahead. Joel tried to return to his passions as quickly as he could but was met with some difficulties: wrong foot, socket wouldn’t allow for the range of motion needed, and overall he just didn’t have the right leg to reach his potential.

"I came to Tillges seeking out the best care I could find for an Adaptive Athlete. My first meeting with Mike Tillges blew my mind. After explaining my needs, Mike’s forward thinking approach to prosthetics helped me in ways I can’t begin to explain. He fitted me with a demo of the RUSH foot made by Ability Dynamics, a foot I was dying to try. In several steps I knew things were about to change. I suddenly found myself able to do tricks and being progressing again as a skateboarder. When paired with a socket from Tillges, things really catapaulted."

In the short time since his introduction to TCOP, Joel has secured sponsorships and endorsements, allowing him to continue to pursue Adaptive Skate and Snowboarding and he even recently signed as an ambassador and advocate with Adaptive Action Sports.

"That’s only the tip of the iceberg, thanks to TCOP, many amazing doors have opened, relationships are being built, and many beautiful things are going to happen."


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." -Mahatma Gandhi. That is Kate’s favorite quote and she lives it every day.

In 2009 Kate lost a leg, above the knee, in a car accident. Within months Kate was fit with a socket and C-Leg at TCOP. She has since graduated from college and landed a job in the hospitality industry in downtown Minneapolis, MN. Kate likes spending time with family and friends, boxing, walking and playing with her dog outside, reading and volunteer work.

"I remember going in the first time, Bob filled me in with exactly what I needed to do and what was next to keep moving forward. He got me set up with a physical therapist right away, and gave me his personal number in case I needed anything at all. I felt like Tillges was my second home before I walked out the door after my first time being there. Ever since my first visit I have continued to look forward to going back in and working with all of the amazing and compassionate people at Tillges.

Bob was honest and upfront with me right away about the difficult process that was to come my way, but assured me that they could help me get to where I wanted to be; and that's just what Tillges did. Thinking back to my first visit, I never thought a year later I would be at the level I have reached, or be feeling as great as I do about everything to do with my situation.

When it was time for my final socket I wanted it to be something fun, something that fit with my personality, something that I would love. I brought in a fabric pattern that I thought would never work because it had rhinestones all over it, but low and behold they got the pattern to look and work perfectly! When I went to pick up my finished leg it was better than I ever imagined! Seven months later it still looks as good as new! I can wear shorts and be confident and happy with how my leg looks; and not a day goes by that someone isn't commenting on how great it looks or how much it fits my personality."


TCOP Prosthetic Patient

Rob was on his way to a friends’ house when he was mugged and thrown on the railroad tracks. The next thing he remembers was coming to at Hennepin County Medical Center and being told that he had been struck by a train – and had lost a leg, above the knee. Rob worked with TCOP for his rehabilitation and was fit with a C-Leg. Rob enjoys traveling, golf, softball and spending time with his family and friends.

"One of the things I like the most about Tillges is the open gym area, it lets me talk to other people while they are walking or working on their legs and watch them as well to see how they are walking and progressing. The thing that stands out the most for me is when I was in the gym getting fitted for my first socket when I had just gotten my new leg. I watched a bi-lateral below-the-knee amputee just motor back and forth and I thought, I am never going to be able to walk that well. I talked to him about it when he was done and he gave me my best advice I have received, which I still share with everyone. “Trust, trust your leg that it’s going to do what it is supposed to and trust that it will be there and just walk."


Sierra was born with Fibular hemimelia or longitudinal fibular deficiency (the congenital absence of the fibula). Her family opted for rotationplasty surgery at an early age that ultimately allowed her to ambulate using her ankle as a knee with some assistive bracing (prosthetics). She is a very active young lady who enjoys spending time with her family, playing golf on her high school team and attending the Amputee Coalitions annual camp - where next year, she will be a counselor.

With the help of the team at TCOP, Sierra was fitted with the Ottobock 1E90 Sprinter Carbon Foot and is now running with ease. Sierra is such an inspiration! 

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