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Francesca’s bones were connected by a Stryker Wichita Fusion Nail. This post-surgery rendering highlights the Stryker implant in place within Francesca’s bones. Today, Francesca can walk for the first time.

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The Most Improbable First Steps

This is the story of Francesca B., a remarkable Romanian who began walking at the age of 27, thanks to the extraordinary combined efforts of a karate champion, a surgeon and Stryker’s business in Switzerland. Francesca was born with a congenital bilateral knee dislocation that prevented her from walking her entire life. In 2007, karate champion Jean Marc Tonus found Francesca begging on the streets of Geneva, Switzerland. He was determined to help her find a way to walk and was soon joined in this effort by Cedric Bagnoud of the Swiss Stryker team. Bagnoud contacted Dr. Olivier Borens at CHUV Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, who concluded that the best solution for Francesca was an arthrodesis—connecting her two bones using Stryker’s Wichita fusion nail. While we sponsored part of the surgery and donated the implants, Tonus raised money and CHUV Hospital gave Francesca post-operative physical therapy and special orthopaedic shoes free of charge. Thanks to the talented medical professionals responsible for her treatment, along with the support of the community and our innovative technologies, today Francesca walks by herself and is free to build a bright new future.