When Rahab Wanjau, a 30-year-old woman from Canada, recently had to have her left leg amputated, she was shocked to find out that she only had two colour options to choose from when she was picking out her prosthetic, and neither was a match for her skin. Wanjau wrote in a Facebook post that it took her months to choose a foot shell, or a covering for a prosthetic foot, because "none of the colors were of my complexion."
Wanjau said that she was only able to choose between an option that was way too light and another that was way too dark.
"I reluctantly chose the brighter complexion foot shell hoping I will get some dye or colors to darken it a little bit to match my complexion," she wrote. "I was told if I needed to get a foot shell of my complexion, I would have to pay extra $$$ because it is not covered under my health card."
As Wanjau pointed out, having a prosthetic "isn't a luxury," and it shouldn't be treated as such. She told the Huffington Post that she contacted Ottobock, the company that manufactures the prosthetics, and was told that because of its material, only the company or an outside professional could permanently change the colour — which she would also have to pay for, out of pocket. Wanjau has also tagged Ottobock and amputee groups on Facebook to share her story.
The colour contrast is so jarring, she told Huffington Post, that family and even strangers have commented on it, making it even more difficult to for her to feel settled with her body.
"I would love to feel whole again," Wanjau told HuffPost. "To feel more confident, to embrace this artificial part that is now part of my body."
Refinery29 has reached out to Wanjau and Ottobock for comment, and will update this article when we receive responses.