WICHITA, Kan. Julie Dombo still searches for the words.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t even talk,” says Dombo.
Julie survived a shooting at a Derby cell phone store, but doctors had to amputate her arms and legs.
We told you last month about her struggles to get her insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, to pay for myoelectric hands. They cost about $130,000 each. BCBS would only pay for mechanical hooks.
But now Julie’s hope of an independent life has come true this Christmas thanks to a Wichita couple.
“It changed my whole life. People cannot afford this and it changed my whole life,” she says.
A chance encounter with Koch Industries VP and attorney Mark Holden changed everything.
“I heard her speak and thought this woman had been through so much. She had such poise and grace. She was inspirational, funny and lighthearted,” says Holden.
Holden was determined to help, but failed at efforts to convince the insurance company to pay for Julie’s hands.
“My wife told me I know you’re going to end up getting them even if we have to pay for them.”
That’s exactly what he did.
“They came in carrying two boxes and I said why do you have those boxes? He says I bought your hands. He said Merry Christmas,” says Julie and her husband John.
“It was such a grave situation. We could help and that’s all that went through my mind and my wife Louise’s mind. I think when you’re in a position to help you should do it and this is the way we could do it,” says Holden.
Holden did not want any attention for his generosity. He says her story is simply a reminder to be grateful for what we have and pay it forward any chance you get.
“I wanted to do whatever I could. She’s very inspiring and she’s deserving of this.”
Holden says Steve Peeples with Peeples Prosthetics was also instrumental in helping to make the donation happen.
Julie is now learning to use her new hands that will allow her to use stairs because she can now hold a railing, get dressed and even prepare food.