Metro woman offers fashion advice to Boston Marathon amputees - KMSP-TV

Metro woman offers fashion advice to Boston Marathon amputees

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A Twin Cities woman is bringing feel-good fashion advice to Boston bombing amputees, telling FOX 9 News she wants to help women look good with their prosthetic limbs as well as provide emotional support.

After the Boston Marathon bombings last April, Leslie Pitt-Schnieder and some volunteers flew to Boston to help. Once she met some women who had lost limbs in the hospital, she said the healing process also meant helping them feel confident about their new appearance.

Pitt-Schnieder works in the legal department at Ottobock, based in Plymouth, Minn., which creates some of the most functional and innovative arms and legs for amputees. While she may not be a designer, she says she knows what women want when it comes to a look.

"In a straight pencil skirt, you tend to see the hardware," she said.

It's hard to tell, but Pitt-Schnieder lost her left leg in an accident as a young girl.

"If I can show somebody through what I've learned along the way and give that information as a peer, that makes me feel like I've done something good," she explained.

That's especially true when she helps women transition back to everyday life, and it's why she traveled with several other volunteers to Boston in order to encourage and listen to the victims of the explosion.

"It's a new normal that you're faced with," she said. "If you don't have information of how to process or what to expect, I think that journey can be a little daunting."

Pitt-Schnieder said all the women she spoke too seemed to ask similar questions.

"'What kind of shoes can I wear? Can I wear high-heeled shoes? Can I wear boots? Can I wear tennis shoes?'" she recalled.

So, she decided to add fashion consultant to her title.

"They're very much surprised and excited to know they could have a leg that looks pretty instead of so mechanical," she said.

Pitt-Schnieder plans to go back to Boston at the end of the month to offer more support and explain fashion options for the victims.

"As women especially, maybe there's an expectation that you look a certain way," she said. "But when you deal with limb loss, you can still be beautiful and rock it any way you want."

A documentary is also being made about Pitt-Schnieder's quest. More information can be found in the links below.

Online resources:

- Wiggle Your Toes Foundation: http://www.wiggleyourtoes.org/
- Amputee Coalition: http://www.amputee-coalition.org/

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