Walking for a good cause.
Twenty-six-year-old Bensonhurst resident Patrick Filosa, who had his leg amputated two years ago, is stepping up for young amputees.
Filosa was born with Neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder that disturbs cell growth in the nervous system, causing tumors to form on nerve tissue.
“It affects one in every 3,000 people,” the former Sunset Park resident said. “I was also born with Pseudarthrosis, which caused me to have a broken left tibia and made my left leg shorter then my right leg by several inches. I had multiple surgeries to try and correct the problem.”
For the majority of his life, Filosa wore a brace due to the significant difference in his leg length. “I walked with a very bad limp which started to cause severe back and hip problems,” he recalled. In 2013, Filosa decided to have a surgery that amputated his leg.
Since making the transition to walking on a prosthetic leg, the lifelong Brooklynite has searched for a way he could give back to children who suffer from similar diseases. “After I had my leg amputated, I felt it as a need to give back to the amputee community,” said Filosa.
He then discovered a charity called the No Limits Foundation, which is holding its second annual Out on a Limb Walk, which takes place at Long Beach Boardwalk
“With the event my prosthetist Robert Schulman put together last year, we raised money for the Living Water Children’s Foundation,” he said. “I raised over $2,000 alone. Together we raised over $10,000 in total.”
This year, the organization is raising funds for Camp No Limits, which offers therapeutic programs with specialized professionals, including physical and occupational therapists, and adult amputee role models. “It’s is the only camp for young people with limb loss and their families, creating a network of support for all the campers,” Filosa said.
In addition to talking on a Facebook group page to fellow amputees who have questions on how to move forward after such an operation, Filosa has also started a donation site on Crowdrise where anyone can give to the cause. “Every $500 raised will let a kid and a parent come to the camp,” he said.
With the help of a friend, he has raised $1,521 on the site. “It feels even better that’s it’s going to children who can’t afford this camp. Now, they’ll be able to go,” he said, thrilled that family and friends have given any money they could to help the noble cause. “It really means the world to me to help out these amputee kids even since my surgery.”
Although the money currently raised is sizable, Filosa is trying to generate even more funds. “I want to get to $5,000. I’m sure once it gets a little closer, more people will donate it happened that way last year to.”
There have been moments of hardships for Filosa, but he doesn’t regret his decision and looks forward to helping others. “I’m at a better place being an amputee,” he said. “I feel I should help the people who are not okay with it and who are insecure, unconfident or shy, and show them they are no different from anyone else and that you can do whatever you put your heart and mind to as an amputee.”
To donate to No Limits, visit www.crowdrise.com/team-legacy/fundraiser/patrickfilosa.