Local nurse surprised with a custom Barbie

(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester nurse was surprised with a special gift from the Limb Lab team to celebrate Limb Loss Awareness month.

"This is probably the coolest gift I have ever gotten in my life" said Meghan Erickson.

Gifts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. For Erickson, her gift was a Barbie with a prosthetic leg designed to look just like her.

"I think it’s important for kids growing up to see that you don’t have to be limited by your disability and to see someone represented like them," said Erickson, "I’ve probably had more opportunities with one leg than I would have with two."

The 26-year-old was born with a birth defect and has lived with a prosthetic leg her whole life. Four years ago, she met the Limb Lab team and has been unstoppable ever since. On her feet for 12 hours a day, Erickson is a Mayo Clinic nurse and credits Limb Lab for her active lifestyle.

Kate Steele is a prosthetist at Limb Lab and met Erickson nearly two years ago. The two have worked as a team to achieve all of Erickson’s goals.

"I am in the field to help other people and bringing the awareness that it’s okay if you don’t have all four limbs or if all four limbs are not perfect," said Steele.

Ahead of National Nurses Week, as a thank you for being such a positive voice and advocate, the Limb Lab team gave Meghan a custom Barbie.

"We took what was a gray prosthetic on there and hand painted the whole thing to make it look like hers and then the scrubs were teal, so we dyed those to match her Mayo ones and even the hair, we changed that, it was a brunette, we had to make it blonde," said Steele.

"The cheetah print is my iconic thing," said Erickson as she pointed to her leg. "If I can showcase my personality and something fun, I’m stuck with my leg for the rest of my life, I might as well make it look cool, make it a conversation piece, something that represents me," Erickson said.

And just like the bold and beautiful design on her leg, she aims to mirror that in life.

"Disabilities don’t have to limit you, they don’t have to be a bad thing, and there are so many things that people with disabilities can do," said Erickson, "Barbie is iconic, if Barbie has got a prosthetic leg, then you can do anything."

Like Barbie, Meghan continues to inspire the dream in every girl.

Limb Lab will be hosting its annual event on Thursday to raise awareness. The LIVE amputee mannequin show will raise money for the Limb Lab foundation. The event also includes adaptive golf and sled hockey with Paralympian Medalist and Author Mike Schultz scheduled to be the guest speaker. The event runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Limb Lab on 4th and Broadway.