Elite Bay Area athlete tests out brand new prosthetic leg

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An elite Bay Area athlete can hit the ground running now that he has the perfect, custom equipment -- a new prosthetic leg. This is all thanks to a new charity which has a mission to provide prosthetics to Bay Area residents.

Kim Yu tried out his leg for the first time on Thursday at San Francisco General Hospital.

After weeks of grinding, months of measurements and years of pain, Yu's new running leg is ready.

Despite losing his leg when he was 8 in an accident in China, Yu has become a triathlete, competing in dozens of races since he moved to San Francisco nine years ago.

"It is more than running for me, finding my own identity," Yu said.

But his old, worn out running leg was slowing him down, literally, until he met Aarti Deshpande, who creates prosthetics at UCSF's Orthopedic Trauma Institute.

"Nothing stops him honestly. I'm just glad to help him in whatever way I can," Deshpande said.

But there was still the matter of cost. Prosthetic running legs cost about $15,000 and aren't covered by insurance. Yu, a county healthcare worker, couldn't'afford to go out of pocket.

That's where Christopher Perkins comes in. He now helps run his family's famous Harley Davidson dealership after his father, Tom Perkins, passed away from cancer a few years ago.

"My dad was a very selfless man and I know if he was around here to see what's happening and what we're able to provide for Kim, it would just be all smiles," Perkins said.

Tom Perkins had a prosthetic foot and so his family started a foundation to honor his legacy. They raise money for people like Yu, their first grant recipient, who need specialized prosthetics.

"Everything happens for a reason, that's why I'm here," Perkins said.

"I'm very, very happy, so grateful," Yu said.

Yu plans to take his new leg on a run first thing Friday morning.

Click here for more information about the Tom Perkins Legacy Foundation.
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