Bartlett High School senior Tiffany Wallace finally will be able to get her dream leg.
The 18-year-old from Bartlett, who started an online campaign to collect $20,000 for a new prosthetic leg so she can continue participating in athletics, exceeded her fundraising goal this week.
"Oh my gosh, $20,000 sounds pretty impossible," Wallace said. "I'm happy that it did happen. I'm so grateful."
The monthlong Indiegogo.com campaign took off with the help of friends and family using social media to spread the word. A flurry of donations came in just before the campaign deadline pushing it $300 above the target.
For Wallace, getting the prosthetic is a quality-of-life issue. She was born with a right leg that never fully formed below the knee -- a condition known as amniotic band syndrome. She has had multiple prostheses since she was 11 months old.
Wallace has been active all her life, learning ballet in elementary school, playing basketball in middle school and badminton in high school. Her everyday prosthetic leg cannot handle the hours of tough conditioning and running required to train for badminton.
"I'm so very excited to be able to have this opportunity to play badminton more, and play other sports, and do anything I would want to do and not have to worry about the strain," she said. "I hope that this can be something other people can look to ... to not let (a disability) stop them."
Wallace's youth group at Willow Creek Church in South Barrington helped tremendously with fundraising. A church member matched donations up to $750. "That was the big thing that gave the last minute push," said her father, Roger Wallace.
"A lot of strangers, businesses have contributed," he added.
Wallace's grandparents, Darlene and Glen Wallace of Rochester, Illinois, emailed the Daily Herald expressing gratitude for highlighting her story, which garnered significant traction on Facebook and gave "a boost to the fundraising effort."
"People who gave because of reading the article and then make their way to the Bartlett High School badminton matches will certainly see the contributions they made put into action in her play on the court," Darlene Wallace wrote.
Wallace's new custom-built athletic prothesis is in the works. She will be able test a trial version in a couple of weeks.
"We're hoping she will have a final version by the beginning of March when badminton season starts," Roger Wallace said.
Wallace plans to attend Illinois State University to study nursing this fall, and pursue sports.