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Man who lost leg in shooting now makes a difference for other amputees at Kirkwood prosthetics service

With pain as his fuel, Anthony Taylor wants to make a difference for others. He's one of those people who after losing so much, found his strength.

ST. LOUIS — At Premier Prosthetics in Kirkwood, the aim is finding the perfect fit. That's in products as well as people. 

Like Certified Peer Specialist Anthony Taylor.

"Anybody that's dealing with limb loss, I want them to have that same hope I have," Taylor said.

It's sensitivity and service first but also technology and craftsmanship.

"We give patients the ability to return back to a normal way of life," said Premier Prosthetics Founder Manny Rivera.

Perhaps no one knows better than Taylor how to turn a setback into a comeback.

He was just 12 when news cameras showed up on his doorstep after his mom was murdered.

Being so young, he said it was hard to process and as he got older, it was hard to let go of the anger.

He ended up with the wrong crowd and then ended up in jail for armed robbery. It devastated the grandmother who stepped in to raise him.

"I end up serving my time and doing everything I can to prove to her that I'm not the guy that they say I am," Taylor said.

Determined to head in the right direction after that wrong turn, he went back to school. He got an associate degree in business and a bachelor's degree in accounting. Then trouble found him again.

"So, this particular night I get out of the car," Taylor recalled. "I heard gunshots. I tried to break and run back to the car because in my mind, I'm fast. So, I tried to run back to the car, and I was hit in the leg … in the stomach."

Doctors saved Anthony, but they couldn't save his left leg. It had to be amputated below the knee.

He was once again in a very dark place, until he met Rivera.

"I said, 'if you trust me, I will make sure that we get you back up walking,'" Rivera said.

Hope, it turns out, was the best medicine of all. Taylor decided if he was going to be anything, then attitude was everything.

"If you don't change mentally, you can't change physically. So, I had to heal emotionally," he said.

These days, Anthony is not only working on getting his master’s degree in accounting, but also with other amputees. He leads a support group at Premier.

"Anthony's being a voice to the community of amputees to give them hope … let them know that it's going to be tough but it you can do it," Rivera said. 

Anthony now wears a microprocessor prosthetic with a computerized knee that can adjust 50 times a second.

But he said his focus is always on humanity not technology. "Believe in you," Taylor said. "Just simply believe in you."

With pain as his fuel, Anthony Taylor wants to make a difference for others.

He is one of those people who after losing so much, found his strength.

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