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Give me the spring

Cheerfully, two toddlers hop across the grass. Jayley and Cyenna look like two peas in a pod, are 3 years old and from Heerlen. Jayley is walking for the first time on her JUMP, which was completely finished to her liking by prosthetist Frank Jol. She got to choose the color herself: girly pink, of course.

"When she wears the JUMP, it's big fun," laughs mother Denice van As. "When she put it on for the first time, she immediately ran off on it. Of course it took some getting used to, but it's great to see when she's playing with it. She can run, romp, on the trampoline ... basically everything. And now that the weather is nice, she can even take it into the water. That wasn't possible with her normal prosthesis. If it got wet, it got moldy. So she had to swim without it. That's fine in a deep pool, but they like to play together in a kiddie pool, or at the beach when we're on vacation. And, of course, she can't walk on her stump. We don't get reimbursed for a bathing prosthesis, so in terms of swimming she is actually limited. And as parents you don't want that."

Jayley was born along with her twin sister Cyenna on April 15, 2018. Even at the 20-week ultrasound, it was clear that something was wrong with her left leg. A membrane in the amniotic fluid wrapped around her leg, pinching it. A fracture could be seen, but it wasn't until after the birth that it became clear exactly what was wrong. Jayley did have a left foot, with five toes, but the bones had not developed. Parents Denice and Desley decided after all kinds of tests and on the advice of an American doctor that amputation would be best. Not an easy choice. A few months later, Jayley receives her first prosthesis. She has never walked until then, but gets up and walks away.

"Every morning Jayley says, 'Give me that spring!'"

"After a while, things didn't go quite right with that prosthesis anyway," father Desley Krewinkel looks back. "She just wasn't walking well, had quick pain on her stump. As parents you want the maximum for your child, you don't want her to be limited in any way. And so she was with that prosthesis. And so we kept looking further. That's how we ended up at the Mentelity Foundation, with the story about the JUMP. We found that very interesting, so we called right away. Not much later we were with prosthetist Frank Jol. That was a huge change in one fell swoop. Anyway: Jayley had never seen anyone with a leg prosthesis before and when we were with Frank, she was Team Para Athletics was training there. That's a lot of leg prosthetics all at once. She was totally alive, loved it. She just walked around smiling, like she suddenly realized she's not the only one."

 1Jayley and her twin sister Cyenna

Denice adds: "Since she has the JUMP, a burden has really fallen off our shoulders. It's a huge difference from everything before. For the first time since the birth, our heads are calm again, we have everything under control. There is so much going on at that time. Until now it was always looking for better solutions, always visiting hospitals and doctors. As a result, Jayley remained a patient and now she is not a patient at all. Now her prosthesis is just part of her. We no longer have to think: Should we continue to look? Can it get any better? We're in the right place now." 

"Soon they will go to preschool together and then Jayley should also be able to manage on her own with her prosthesis. We know now that she can. Every morning she gets to choose which one she wants to wear: the 'normal' one or the JUMP. Almost always she says, "do me the jumper. That's what she calls it. Cyenna is also very happy that her sister can now run and play with her. Jayley is at least as fast and agile. And her sister sees that too. She even asked the other day, 'Mommy, why don't I actually have a stump like that?'"

Text: Robin Wubben
Photo: Mathilde Dusol