Still Standing

Sara Vincent has endured some difficult life circumstances that ultimately resulted in her becoming an above-the-knee amputee. Instead of focusing on her trials and tribulations, she chooses to spread messages of optimism and anticipation.

by Avril Occilien-Similien

Anyone who encounters Sara Vincent will be met with a genuine smile and leave with an uplifting message. Vincent now lives what she considers a “pretty sweet life,” but that has not always been true. Due to a condition named Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Vincent has endured some difficult life circumstances, from struggling with knee pain for most of her childhood to multiple knee replacements in her teenage years to navigating adulthood as an above-the-knee amputee. Despite these events, Vincent chooses to spread hope and positivity wherever she goes. 

“After my amputation surgery, I asked for a stump socket that I could decorate,” she said. “I cover this socket with very uplifting and motivational messages because I figure people will be looking at me anyway, so I might as well give them something positive to look at.” 

An Indiana native, Vincent and her husband moved to Newborn in 2010 to raise their daughter in the South. Vincent beamed when she expressed her gratitude for what the area offers. 

“We are so happy we moved here,” she said. “Along with my parents-in-law, our family has expanded to include several critters—four cats, two chinchillas, nine chickens and five dogs, including my service dog, Lewey.” 

“As much as you try to prepare, you can’t prepare for something like this, but I’m thankful to no longer be in constant pain.”

Sara Vincent

Vincent credits her family and church community with helping her through tough times and calls her journey a “God thing.” She saw countless specialists before her amputation in February 2022. 

“After the Mayo Clinic stated there was nothing more they could do, my husband and I knew what was next,” Vincent said. “We needed to pivot from finding a cure to adapting to a new normal without the bottom half of my leg.”

Vincent believes God has provided individuals, even strangers, to help her along an uncertain path. During her last vacation before amputation surgery, an encouraging amputee at the beach gave her hope. There was also the veteran amputee, Kendra Pieper, with whom her husband randomly connected. Pieper owns a local construction company, Squared Away LLC, and visited their home to offer expert advice on making it more accessible. The Vincents eventually hired Squared Away to do all the construction, and they could not have been more thrilled with the finished product. 

“The journey has been much harder than I thought it would be,” Vincent said. “As much as you try to prepare, you can’t prepare for something like this, but I’m thankful to no longer be in constant pain. I still have some nerve issues and have to deal with socket soreness, but it’s getting there slowly. I will get there.” 

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Vincent considers herself a creative soul and channels her talents through her first love: photography. Due to her altered mobility, she has had to slow down quite a bit with some aspects of her business ( She also utilizes her gifts to reach the next generation. Vincent now teaches art and photography to kindergarten through middle schoolers at Summit Academy in Monroe and seizes every opportunity as an instructive moment. 

“Kids are naturally curious and are so funny,” she said. “They have so many questions, and I’ll take the time to indulge them. I’ll take my leg off if needed to show them how it all works. My little kindergarteners will ask crazy questions like if my leg will ever grow back. Some people may be mortified, but I don’t mind those questions. I embrace them and use each moment to make a lasting positive impression that, hopefully, the children will never forget.”

Her creative pursuits extend further, as Vincent recently opened up an Etsy shop. 

“My second love is crafting,” she said. “Since I couldn’t fully utilize my jeans, I took them all and started making things out of them. I am taking my old clothes and findings and turning them into jewelry, photo props and art, as well as making Mickey ears for all occasions. Disney always brings a smile, even on the cloudiest of days. I look at it as turning my lemons into lemonade. It’s a metaphor for my entire life, so that’s what I named my Etsy shop: ‘She’s Making Lemonade.’”

When asked what one message she would give to someone facing similar experiences, Vincent offered some poignant advice.

“Take one day at a time, one step at a time,” she said. “Instead of asking yourself, ‘What can I do?’ ask yourself, ‘How can I do this?’ The possibilities are endless.” 

Click here to read more stories by Avril Occilien-Similien.

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