Seven months after losing her leg in a near-fatal accident in Haverhill, Paige Fortin is finally back on her feet.
The 18-year-old Amesbury resident has endured a hard road riddled with surgeries and setbacks, but within the past month her injuries have healed to the point where she could be fitted with a prosthetic, and now she’s able to walk for the first time since the accident.
Fortin was first fitted with her new prosthetic leg about a month ago, but wasn’t wearing it consistently until two weeks ago when she went to visit her stepsister at college in North Carolina.
“The day before that my physical therapist was like ‘it’s not going to stop hurting until you use it,’” Fortin said. “So I wore it the whole time, I just sucked it up.”
Since then, Fortin has been walking all over town, and her mother, Virginia Page, said it’s like she’s turned into Forrest Gump.
“She’s like ‘I’m going to run’ and then she just takes off,” Page said.
That kind of progress would have seemed unimaginable last September after Fortin and her boyfriend, Josh Zaino, were struck by a truck while riding on a scooter in Haverhill. The impact of the collision knocked both of them from the scooter and inflicted catastrophic damage to Fortin’s right leg.
Fortin’s doctors described the injuries as among the worst they’d ever seen, and her mother said her leg looked like something straight out of “The Walking Dead.” Zaino was not seriously injured in the accident.
“We have the injury photos and it actually looks like a zombie leg,” Page said. “It was twisted around, purple, it really was nuts.”
Page said her daughter likely had her leg caught in a tire rotation when the truck hit her, and the leg ultimately had to be amputated.