Charlotte, NC - A Charlotte teenager isn't letting a back brace stop her from using her creativity to channel her inner strength. Maddie Cable is somewhat of an aspiring master of arts.
"I spent like half an hour trying to get it just right,” Cable said about one of her sketches.
When she's not putting her ideas to paper, she's acting them out on stage. And she almost always has her best friend Sarah Chacko by her side, which is why it was no surprise when the two decided to collaborate on a project time just months after Cable was injured in a car accident.
"It was rainy and foggy,” said Cable. “And when we got back on the highway, there was people backed up, We tried to brake but we hydroplaned and went straight into them.”
Cable was left with a fractured T12. She had emergency spinal fusion surgery and was told she would have to spend the next couple of months wearing a back brace.
"I knew that I would stick out a lot,” Cable said. “And it felt very uncomfortable, of course, and weird."
Determined not to let the back brace deter her, Cable decided to call on Sarah.
The two put their heads together and turned Cable’s brace into a steampunk creation.
"I remember just looking at it and seeing all the different grooves and lines on it,” said Chacko. “And I thought that would be really cool to steampunk."
Using metallic spray paint and stencils from the craft store, the two teens spent five hours transforming Cable’s back brace into a replica of body armor. The end result left Cable feeling less like a spectacle and more like a survivor.
“I just saw that it was perfect,” said Cable. “And it really did symbolize the battle I'm fighting in right now.”
From an artist to a warrior, Cable now not only has a new back brace but a new lease on life. And she says her doctors are thrilled with her progress. She has started physical therapy and is now able to spend a few hours out of her brace each day.