Billy is a musician and an actor – or, a full-time drummer and an occasional actor, he clarifies with a smile. On the day of the photo shoot at Superior Orthotics & Prosthetics, Billy had just come from a 10 a.m. matinee where he was the drummer in the orchestra for a musical theatre performance. Later that evening, he was heading to play with his friend’s band at a club.
“I’m super lucky. Life has been far richer since this happened.”
“So I’m squeezing this photo shoot and interview in,” he jokes.
Music is Billy’s career and his passion. He’s played the drums since he was 11 years old. And the fact that he lost his leg in 2005 after a battle with cancer hasn’t stopped him one bit.
“On a good month, I still play every day,” he says.
Originally from Kansas City, Billy has one of the more unusual stories as to how he first learned of the team at Superior.
“Actually, I got connected with Superior through the guy that sold me my home alarm system,” Billy laughs. “It was a referral.”
After noticing something that only another amputee would notice, Billy explains, he asked Ronnie from the alarm company if he was an amputee. When Ronnie confirmed, the two formed an immediate connection. And when it came time for Billy to find a new prosthetist, Ronnie recommended Superior.
“It was a huge blessing,” Billy says.
In fact, Billy has since referred one of his friends who was injured in an accident to Superior.
“When I came to Superior … not only did I feel that kind of vibe that these people really cared, but the work is really good too,” he says.
Because his amputation was above the knee, Billy has not just a prosthetic leg, but a prosthetic knee as well. He eagerly demonstrated how it all functions and reacts to the way he moves up and down stairs and up and down an inclined surface.
“It’s pretty high-tech and pretty robotic,” Billy says. “It’s really fantastic, especially for active amputees – I was 28 when I lost my leg, just a young guy and I live an active lifestyle. I don’t feel super limited with this.”
And that’s a good thing, considering that Billy and his wife welcomed a newborn baby boy into the world just seven weeks earlier, six weeks earlier than expected.
“So lately I’ve been hanging out with my wife and my baby,” he says excitedly. “And not sleeping. It’s been wild, but it’s such an amazing blessing.”
As the report time for his evening drumming gig edges closer, Billy shows off a tattoo on his arm, bearing the date of August 4, 2005. It’s the date of his amputation, which was due to Ewing’s sarcoma cancer. But Billy, as he does with the rest of his life, chooses to emphasize the positive.
That’s not the date he lost his leg. It’s the date he became cancer-free.
“We have a party every year on August 4 to celebrate life,” he says. “I’m super lucky. Life has been far richer since this happened.”