Assistive technology from BBC Two Show and orthopaedic provider allows young girl to continue ballet
Pollyana Hope, 13, dreams of being a ballerina and has been helped on her journey by experts from a BBC Two show and Dorset Orthopaedic.
Pollyanna was two years old when she lost her leg in a horrific accident, but despite undergoing more than 20 operations in the last ten years, Pollyanna has never given up on her ballet aspirations.
While she’s reached an exceptionally high standard, she’s now being marked down in exams because she cannot perform some moves, including going up on her toes, known as demi-pointe.
However, the BBC Two show The Big Life Fix team and prosthetists at Dorset Orthopaedic have allowed her ballet journey to get back on track.
The Big Life Fix follows a team of engineers, designers and inventors as they try to find ways for people with illness and disabilities to improve their lives. In Pollyanna’s case, it was engineer Yusuf Muhammed who helped her by building a prosthetic foot to allow her to go up on demi-pointe.
Yusuf took advice from Dorset’s prosthetics experts, Richard Hirons from prosthetics manufacturer Ossur — which provided the components — as well as from Pollyanna’s dance teachers and others from the ballet world to work out what would be best for her at her age and abilities.
He created a prosthetic foot which could point downwards into a demi-pointe stance at the touch of a button.
Christopher Hope, Pollyanna’s father, said: “We loved working with the Big Life Fix and Matt Hughes at Dorset Orthopaedic.
“Hopefully the prototype leg will push forward the science in this area and mean that ballet legs with adjustable ankles can be made generally available to anyone who needs one in the not too distant future.”
Matt Hughes, Clinical Services Director at Dorset Orthopaedic, commented: “It was an absolute delight to be a part of this special project to get Pollyanna to the next stage of her ballet career and we wish her all the luck in the world as she pursues her dreams.”
Established in 1989, Dorset Orthopaedic provides prosthetic, orthotic, silicone and rehabilitation services.