Utah woman gets new prosthetic legs one year after near-death experience

Dec 14, 2022, 5:57 PM | Updated: 10:56 pm

MURRAY, Utah — Wednesday was a brand new day for a mother of five involved in a near-death accident one year ago.

Heather Vanboerum, 51, got new and improved prosthetic legs that allow her to do things she never thought possible.

“They feel so good. These feel like my legs, much more than my other ones,” Vanboerum said as she got outfitted with the new prostheses at Hanger Clinic in Murray. “The others were big and heavy, and these feel sleek and light.”

With these new prosthetic legs, she will be able to enjoy the beach and the ocean as the family plans to head to Florida at the end of the week.

It was one year ago, on the evening of Dec. 20, when Vanboerum was crossing the Murray Costco parking lot when she was hit by a car. The crash cut off her right leg and left her left leg dangling.

“I looked down at my legs and saw a lot of blood,” Vanboerum said.

Fortunately, just across the parking lot is Intermountain Medical Center, which has a trauma unit for such accidents. It just so happens that her husband, Don, is a trauma surgeon at the hospital. He was on the phone with her at the time of the accident and heard her screaming and the loud crashing noise.

He ended up wheeling his own wife into the trauma room.

“Wanting to be husband but also being wanting to fix it because that’s what I do,” he said to KSL TV earlier this year shortly, after the accident.

Costco employees describe saving a woman’s life after bloody parking lot crash

Now, one year later, Vanboerum said she never thought she would be able to get back to doing normal, everyday things again.

“I think I was really frightened and scared, and so I didn’t even want to let myself imagine that I was going to be able to do the things that I’m doing now,” she said.

“She’s checked off goals faster than most people, and just blown us away in what’s she’s been able to accomplish,” said Wendy Remington Brewer, the Hanger Clinic manager who has been outfitting Vanboerum with prosthetic legs.

(Dan Rascon/KSL TV) (Dan Rascon/KSL TV) (Dan Rascon/KSL TV)

And with Vanboerum’s attitude and family support, who knows what’s next.

“She has no limits,” Brewer said. “If you can dream it, we can find a way to achieve it.”

Vanboerum is hoping to strengthen herself so that she can go skiing next year and get out on the tennis court by spring.

“My ultimate goal is to keep going and living life to the fullest,” she said.

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Utah woman gets new prosthetic legs one year after near-death experience