By Katie Brace, WBZ-TVBy Katie Brace


BOSTON (CBS) — Picking out a pair of heels may seem like an ordinary decision, but for Hillary Cohen of Walpole it is life-changing.

“This is the first time I am looking at myself with two normal-looking legs. I’ve never had that before,” she says.

She had her right leg amputated above the ankle two years ago at the age of 24. She has a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow at the end of nerve endings. In her case, her right foot.

“I decided enough is enough. I am going to get rid of my leg and live my life how I want to,” Cohen said.

On Monday, Oct. 19, Cohen receives the first prosthetic leg given by the Heather Abbott Foundation. Abbott lost her leg when she was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. She started the foundation to help other amputees.

Cohen has already undergone the castings and fittings for the prosthetic. The leg is now finally finished. Unlike Cohen’s current prostheses, this one will be made for a three-inch heel.

Hillary Cohen. (WBZ-TV)

Hillary Cohen. (WBZ-TV)

“I never knew that I could feel that good about myself or that pretty,” she said.

Cohen never doubted her decision to amputate, but found there were few people she could identify with. She found a kindred spirit in Abbott.

“I really wanted the first donation to be her. I knew she really wanted to wear high heels and I knew how she felt,” Abbott says.

At 26, Cohen prepares for something she never thought she would do: take on her next steps in life wearing a pair of high heels.

“What I see her (Abbott) doing for all those people, it’s amazing and makes me want to pay it forward,” she said.

Katie Brace

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