Pom-pon helps teen with one hand blend in




Posted on October 16, 2009 at 2:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 12 at 12:02 PM

Blending In

Janet St. James reports

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DALLAS - Many people want to stand out in the crowd.

But Heather Yates just wanted to blend in.

She was born with one hand. As a child, Heather was fitted with a prosthetic that just never stuck.

"She figured out how to take it off," said her mom, Pam Yates. "She would put the fingers in her mouth and crawl around on the floor with her arms hanging out of her mouth."

Not until the 16-year-old tried out for the John Horn High School drill team in Mesquite did Heather ever wish she had a hand.

She found that strapping the pom-pon to her arm just didn't work.

"I tied it around my hand, but it would always cut off the circulation," Heather said.

So, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital created a special prosthetic with a singular purpose - to hold Heather's spangled scarlet pom-pom.

Heather said it makes her just like everyone else. "No one's like, 'She doesn't have a hand.' You know, it's easy for me to just blend in with everyone," she said.

At a recent performance at the hospital, Heather demonstrated her pom in action to Dwight Putnam, the specialist who made it.

"I figured if I couldn't pick her out of the crowd, I know that I had done my job right," he said.

Heather hopes that by blending in, she'll inspire others to see ability instead of disability.