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Layne Hilsgen

Layne is a force of nature. Her parents, Amy and Clint, waited for a long time to welcome a child into their family – but when it came time to adopt Layne, things happened in a hurry.  

“We got the call when she was already born,” Amy recalls. “We were told we’d been selected to be Layne’s parents and we’d be able to meet her at the hospital within a few hours.”  

Amy and Clint were also told that Layne had clubfoot. Amy had never heard of the condition, but a quick Google search gave her some comfort in terms of treatment options and success rates.   

The new family of three was referred to Gillette Children’s for care. Their first visit – when Layne was just two weeks old – took place during COVID via a Telehealth appointment. It was then that they connected with orthopedic nurse practitioner Amy Jo Beebe.   

“Amy Jo has been with us the whole time,” says Amy. “She’s my girl. She walked us through everything, including the intricacies of Layne’s treatment and all of the steps it was going to treat something I first thought would be so simple.”  

Layne’s treatment has been lengthy and multi-faceted, by design. Her right foot is almost completely curved and without early and proper treatment, she would never walk. Layne’s care uses the Ponseti method – a series of casting and orthotic bracing treatments that permanently and non-surgically corrects clubfoot in young children.   

This method began with weekly casting when Layne was just three weeks old. She wore a cast that went nearly up to her hip, straightening the curve in her foot slowly by overcorrecting the curvature. Eventually, she also had a Tenotomy procedure, which involved an incision in her Achilles tight tendon to lengthen it.  

The next phase of Layne’s care involved using the Ponseti bar. This device looks similar to a snowboard and locked Layne’s feet in place for 23 hours a day for three months. Needless to say, this was the most difficult phase of her treatment – but Layne and her family made it through.   

“Layne was becoming so mobile at that point,” Amy said. “She wanted to move her feet, to kick, to crawl. There were lots of sleepless nights, but everyone at Gillette assured me that, like other kids, Layne is resilient, she will adapt. And she did.”  

Now three-and-a-half, Layne wears a brace for 12 hours a day, usually overnight. Her parents and her care team are confident her treatment has worked, and she’ll soon graduate to physical therapy and annual check-ups.   

“Amy Jo and Layne’s entire care team has seen my emotions go up and down so many times over the years. I’ve begged them for loopholes, for some easier way. But they’ve always stayed the course. And deep down I knew they were right. They never wavered in their confidence or their support along the way.”  

These days, Layne is in near-constant motion. Rather than slow her down, it seems her experience with clubfoot has her more determined and ambitious to try things like dance and soccer. She loves to run and climb, to dress up like a princess and jump in the mud. Her visits to Gillette turned her into a natural caretaker, especially to her younger brother, Boulder (Bo).  

“Gillette has been the best place to bring my daughter,” Amy remarks. “(Clint) and I are always talking about how fortunate we are to have access to the care there. Gillette does such a great job, always treating Layne like she’s the star patient of the day. You may go into an appointment feeling exhausted and defeated, but you always leave reassured and optimistic. If there is anything I could tell other parents, it’s that with the right support, you can do hard things.”