PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At just four years old, Jen Costello had a very grown up problem.
She was diagnosed with cancer.
Treatment in the 1970’s wasn’t as advanced as it is today. Doctors had to use a large amount of chemotherapy.
Jen’s cancer was cured, but the treatment damaged most of the muscles on the left side of her back.
As the years went by, she had other complications, and needed a cane to help her walk. But medical canes made her feel self-conscious, and uncomfortable.
That’s when she decided to make a cane for herself.
She carved an old stair banister that her brother gave her.
“After a while people weren’t looking at my leg braces, they were looking at my cane, and knowing that feeling — I like to share that with others,” she said.
Now, she makes special walking canes for others using recycled materials. All incredibly detailed and beautiful as they are functional.
Monday, Jen took one of her special canes to a military veteran in Jeannette, Sgt. Russell Bell. He was injured in Vietnam, and Jen crafted a cane just for him.
“I put the service, the weapon he used, the helmet, different patches. So it’s about him and about his service,” she explained.
“It’s absolutely fantastic, I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life. I will cherish this as long as I live,” he said.
Russell wants to remind everyone, the Fourth of July is the perfect time to remember our nation’s veterans.
“Take time to remember that what you are doing today has been bought with the blood of men and women who served our country with honor and distinction.”