1-year-old Eden Huff is the face of Wayman Tisdale's legacy

The Wayman Tisdale Foundation is a local nonprofit that provides eligible individuals, like Eden, with unmet prosthetic needs.



Eden Huff is the first child recipient of services from the Wayman Tisdale Foundation, a local nonprofit that provides eligible individuals with unmet prosthetic needs. At 9 months she was fitted with a passive prosthetic, which her parents, Monique and Merton Huff Jr., say she uses now to gain balance and learn to walk.

The Huff family receives a devastating prenatal diagnosis

Merton Huff Jr. is both a pianist and a barber. His hands are his livelihood.

So he was more than devastated when he and his wife, Monique, found out during an ultrasound that their first child, a girl, would be born with no left arm.

They recall their initial disbelief as a tech measured and re-measured the baby’s limbs at 20 weeks gestation. They drove home from the doctor’s office in silence.

As reality sank in, the couple politely smiled through their own gender reveal party thrown by family and friends. “We weren’t ready to tell everyone yet (about the birth defect),” Merton says, “so we had to carry it.”

Over the next several months, the couple shared the news with those closest to them, including members of their church, Metropolitan Baptist, where Merton is the worship leader.

Merton says thinking about his unborn child’s condition initially made him angry. “I was asking God, ‘Why me?’ Everything I do, I do with my hands,” he says. “Everything you can think of, we thought.”

He recalls thinking about his daughter’s future and then attempting himself to do everyday tasks, like taking a shower or tying his shoes, with one hand behind his back.

With the encouragement of family, friends and even strangers through Facebook support groups, the Huffs eventually found strength through prayer and Scripture.

“God never promises us everything is going to go our way,” Merton says, “but we’ve been able to see God in the process.”

The late Tulsan Wayman Tisdale's foundation offers hope

Before their daughter’s birth, a friend at church told the Huffs about the locally based Wayman Tisdale Foundation, which identifies eligible individuals with unmet prosthetic needs and pays for cutting-edge prosthetic care.

The late Tulsan Wayman Tisdale, a Booker T. Washington, University of Oklahoma and professional basketball player and jazz musician, received a prosthetic leg after an amputation due to bone cancer. He created the foundation with his wife, Regina, before his death in 2009 at age 44 from complications of his radiation treatment.

Over the past eight years, the Tisdale Foundation has funded $47,500 in prosthetics for eight individuals across the state. The Oklahoma City-based Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research, which created a series of prosthetic legs for 6 foot, 9 inch Wayman — some of the tallest it has made — has created most of the devices for the foundation’s grantees.

Regina says the Tisdale Foundation started out providing scholarship money to students in Tulsa schools who were athletes and musicians like Wayman. But his amputation experience — and learning that prosthetic limbs can cost between $5,000 and $50,000 — caused him to shift the foundation’s mission.

“We were sitting in the hospital one day, and he said, ‘I want to change the foundation,’” Regina recalls. “I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said, ‘I want to give prosthetic devices to Oklahomans in need.’

“It’s just so Wayman,” she says. “It was just his heart to help individuals.”

Over the past eight years, the Tisdale Foundation has funded $47,500 in prosthetics for eight individuals across the state. The Oklahoma City-based Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research, which created a series of prosthetic legs for 6 foot, 9 inch Wayman — some of the tallest it has made — has created most of the devices for the foundation’s grantees.

“Wayman and Regina were fantastic to work with, and they’re very inspiring people,” says prosthetist Scott Sabolich, whose company donated the time and labor to create grantees’ prosthetics, while the foundation paid for materials.

“Wayman had health insurance and was able to cover a copay and deductible, but he realized that not everyone can do that,” Sabolich says. “Many people don’t even have health insurance.”

For those who receive one, an artificial limb can be life-changing. Regina recounts a single mother of three who went back to school after receiving her prosthesis. A 25-year-old man who lost his leg in a farming accident went back to work and got married after receiving his device.

These heartwarming stories are what keep Regina going. “Our mission is being fulfilled in the sense that these people are able to get on with their lives,” she says.

In April, the Tisdale Foundation helped an individual whose life was just beginning. It granted its first prosthetic for a child, Eden Huff.

Eden takes baby steps

Eden, whose left arm stops just above her elbow, also was born with hip dysplasia on her left side. To help correct her hip condition, she was in a harness for her first three months. Eden was only out of the harness for bath time, Merton says. “It was really difficult.”

At 9 months old, the Tisdale Foundation facilitated the fitting of her first prosthetic arm. The immovable device, called a passive prosthetic, is mostly for balance and secures with a strap across her body. If Eden wears it under long sleeves, one can hardly tell the arm isn’t real when she is sitting up.

Since children grow quickly, they require new prosthetics every few years. The foundation will fund one more device for Eden, likely around age 2, Merton says.

At 14 months old, Eden underwent hip surgery to add a metal plate to support her hip socket. As a result, she was in a cast for three months. As she grows, she will have to have other hip surgeries, just as she will have to have new prosthetics.

For now, therapists come to the Huffs’ home once a week for physical therapy, which involves helping Eden stand. She wears her prosthetic arm while standing between a set of parallel bars about 2 feet high. “She can take a few steps, but doctors don’t want us to rush her walking so she can build strength,” Merton says.

Coincidentally, before Eden’s diagnosis, Merton was already familiar with the Tisdale Foundation — as an entertainer. For the past four years, he’d been to hired provide music at its Jazzy Strokes fundraiser golf tournament, held each August.

Now he understands the foundation’s impact at a level few can.

“We’re so thankful for the Tisdales,” Monique adds. “I really don’t know if (Wayman) even thought about the extent to which he would impact people in the future.”

Wayman’s legacy lives on

Together the Tisdales had three daughters and a son. Only one of their six grandchildren, Bailey, met their Papa.

“Through cancer, through the amputation, he was still the guy I started dating at 16,” Regina says of Wayman, nine years after his death. She is speaking from the community room of the Wayman Tisdale Specialty Health Clinic, 591 E. 36th St N., which opened in 2015. This past June, Chouteau Elementary, also in north Tulsa, was renamed the Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy.

Regina is clearly proud the community has helped keep her husband’s legacy alive.

Regina Tisdale founded the Wayman Tisdale Foundation with her late husband, Wayman Tisdale, inset. Along with addressing and providing prosthetic care to eligible individuals, the foundation recently launched the Wayman’s Way initiative, which promotes positive lifestyles and preventative health care with an emphasis on health and wellness, childhood health education and nutrition awareness.

Never a fan of public speaking, she says leading the foundation has been a challenge for her. “When we first got married, you couldn’t get two words out of my mouth,” she says. “Wayman pulled that out of me. When he passed away, I didn’t have a choice.”

Fundraising has been especially tough, Regina says, because she hates asking people for money. Now the foundation has staff who handle much of the development. “After he died, I literally wrote this in my journal: ‘Wayman, this is above my paygrade,’” Regina recalls. “‘It’s your fault because you gave me a life where I didn’t have to ask for anything.’”

Knowing the Tisdale Foundation will provide Eden with one more prosthesis removes some of the family’s financial burden, say the Huffs.

They say they will fund future prosthetics — if Eden wants to continue wearing them — with the help of insurance and through personal savings.

Overall, Monique says they are taking things “one day at a time” and focusing on showing Eden that she is special and important. It’s something they will also teach their second child, a son named Judah, who was born in July.

Of her daughter, Monique says, “We realized we can’t reduce her life to one missing arm because she would never experience all that she should.”



For more information on the Wayman Tisdale Foundation, visit waymantisdale.org.

 

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

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Where:
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View map »

More information

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Contact Name: Lori Hutson

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34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019   Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea...

Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

Where:
Agora Gallery
530 W 25th St.
New York, NY  10001
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Sponsor: Agora Gallery
Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
Website »

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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

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Sweets & Cream will be reopening Friday, February 22 at 3PM! Come on by for a $1.99 ice cream cookie sandwich and give a small donation to the Tips for Charity effort to help support our local...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Sweets & Cream
1114 S Yale Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74112
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Sponsor: Sweets & Cream
Telephone: 918-633-3182
Contact Name: Erik Collins
Website »

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5:00-6:00 Nature & Madness is the contemplative indie-folk project of Ryan Pickop. Ryan's work is rooted in Americana, rooted in the Earth. Challenging without being confrontational, we are offered...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heirloom Rustic Ales
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: Heirloom Rustic Ales

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Solo performance. Originally from the OKC area, Adrienne Gilley is a vocalist, guitar player, songwriter. Drawing from co-writers and influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Tipping encouraged

Where:
The Colony
2809 S. Harvard
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Website »

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Sample various whiskey, have dinner and hear some fabulous music! 

Cost: 150.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Lindsey House
Telephone: 918-933-5222
Contact Name: Diana Denny
Website »

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JAKE OWEN Multiple chart-topping singer/songwriter Jake Owen’s new single “Down To The Honkytonk” is rapidly climbing the Billboard Country Airplay charts. With seven #1 songs to...

Cost: $50, $75, $100

Where:
Osage Casino
Tulsa, OK

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Sunday in the Park with George follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed...

Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

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Join us for the 59th Annual Book Fair! Saturday, February 23, 2019 8:00 am–3:00 pm Holland Hall Primary School Gym Open to the public. Tickets $1, 18 and under free. No RSVP required,...

Cost: $1

Where:
Holland Hall Primary School
5666 E. 81 St.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Holland Hall
Telephone: 918-481-1111
Contact Name: Heather Brasel
Website »

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The Orbit Initiative, produced by The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust, resumes its FREE community satellite adventures at seven local community centers this Saturday, January 12th, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various
Various
Tulsa, OK  Various
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Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
Telephone: 918-596-7119
Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
Website »

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As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

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Pain Management Class Non-medical Treatments for Pain Non-medical treatments may be used to treat chronic pain, along with pain medicines. They might also be used alone for mild pain or...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
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Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019   Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea...

Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

Where:
Agora Gallery
530 W 25th St.
New York, NY  10001
View map »


Sponsor: Agora Gallery
Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Youth members of the six area Boys & Girls Clubs compete for college scholarships in the Annual Youth of the Year competition. The winners are announced at this banquet. Volunteers making a...

Cost: $75

Where:
ORU Global Learning Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
Website »

More information

Cocktails, dinner and program with live and silent auctions followed by a Casino and dancing.

Cost: $200 per person, sponsorships available

Where:
The Mayo Hotel
115 W. 5th Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa CASA, Inc.
Telephone: 918-584-2272
Contact Name: Paula McKay
Website »

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Dancing, cocktails, Cajun and jazz...all of the goodies that Mardi Gras has!  Come join New Hope Oklahoma in a night of Mardi Gras fun!  New Hope Oklahoma strives to end generational...

Cost: TBD

Where:
The Bond
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Dancing, cocktails, Cajun and jazz...all of the goodies that Mardi Gras has!  Come join New Hope Oklahoma in a night of Mardi Gras fun! New Hope Oklahoma strives to end generational incarceration,...

Cost: TBD

Where:
The Bond Event Center
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Cocktails, dinner and program;  silent and live auctions followed by a Casino and dancing.

Cost: $200 per person, sponsorships available

Where:
The Mayo Hotel
115 W. 5th Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa CASA, Inc.
Telephone: 918-584-2272
Contact Name: Paula McKay
Website »

More information

Support youth leaders emerging from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa. Each candidate is competing for higher education scholarships. Our goal is for youth leader to be a winner and advance with...

Cost: $50 Individual Tickets and Sponsor Levels

Where:
Global Learning Center at ORU
7777 S Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

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6-10:30 p.m. Southern Hills Country Club, 2636 E. 61st Street. The 2019 Lunar New Year Gala at Southern Hills Country Club will be an elegant evening of candlelight, fine dining, children’s party...

Cost: $150, individual tickets; $1,000-$25,000, sponsorships.

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Dillon International
Telephone: 918-748-5613
Contact Name: Marcia Graham
Website »

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COOKING UP COMPASSION FACT SHEET ABOUT THE EVENT:  Long time donors Margo and Kent Dunbar are Honorary Chairs for the event. Now in its fourteenth year, Cooking Up Compassion raises funds for the...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Ballroom at the Cox Business Center
3rd & Houston
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Catholic Charities
Telephone: 918-508-7115
Contact Name: Jennifer Allen
Website »

More information

Winterset is an annual formal event of the Osteopathic Founders Foundation which brings together the osteopathic profession and their community partners to benefit projects which improve the health...

Cost: $300

Where:
Hyatt Regency Tulsa
100 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Osteopathic Founders Foundation
Telephone: 918-551-7300
Contact Name: Michele Caine
Website »

More information

Sunday in the Park with George follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed...

Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

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TULtalk


Art film meets dance at Oklahoma Dance Film Festival

This year's program features more than 20 films from around the world, presented on Sunday at the Central Library.

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2.4: #KnopeLife — Anna America

Anna America took the helm at Tulsa’s Parks and Recreation department in the fall of 2018, but she is certainly no stranger to life in the public eye.

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7 strategies to help you make the A-LIST

The competition is tough for small businesses on our annual readers' choice survey, but a few smart strategies can help you get ahead.

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“Sunday in the Park” is no walk in the park

American Theatre Company prepares for the Oklahoma premiere of the very technically challenging “Sunday in the Park with George,” Feb. 15-24

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2.3: Get that “Woo!” — Tom Basler

A conversation with dueling piano phenom Tom Basler about his many reinventions, both personal and professional.

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