Charlotte Teenager Turns Brace Into Fashion Statement After Back Surgery

Linda Cable didn’t let her car crash in November defeat her. Instead, she transformed into a warrior, battling the circumstances of her accident without fear.

Cable, a 17-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, got into a car accident which left her with a fractured T12. Subsequently, she had to undergo a spinal fusion surgery directly after the incident.

She was then directed to wear a back brace at all times for the next two months. For a teenager growing up, this wasn’t necessarily the cool thing to wear. But lacking any real choice over the matter, Cable wore the brace as instructed.

It wasn’t until Cable started to receive dirty looks because of the brace that she decided to do something about it. Instead of having her parents call her out of school for the next few months, Cable chose to be courageous by embracing her new condition.

“I really hated how bland the brace looked,” Cable told The Huffington Post. “People would stare and give weird looks. I felt ashamed of it. I wanted to make it something fun that I’d enjoy wearing and feel proud of instead of embarrassed by.”

Cable decided to “steampunk”–a retro-tech style–her back brace, thus transforming it to armor: the perfect symbolism for proving she is a survivor.

With the help of her 19-year-old friend, Sarah Chacko, Cable’s steampunk armor was able to become a reality. Chacko told the Huffington Post that she is a steampunk fanatic.

“I’d steampunked other things, like Nerf guns, in the past,” she said. “And when I saw the different rivets and buckles on the brace, I thought, ‘Yeah, we could steampunk that!’”

Chacko undertook the project with extreme preparation and care. When she arrived to Cable’s house, she didn’t come empty handed. She brought a basket with all of the essential materials: paint brushes, paint, spray paint, and “Sarah’s trusty glue gun.”

This clearly wasn’t Chacko’s first rodeo, so the ending product was something that both Cable and Chacko were proud of. Five hours later, the back brace was transformed to the desired steampunk armor. They actually decided that their creation was worth sharing, so they posted it on a steampunk fan website called Epbot.

When Cable was asked about the newly transformed back brace, she responded saying “It symbolizes the battle I’m fighting while going through this. I’m a warrior.”

The transformation of the brace wasn’t beneficial just for Cable’s own self-esteem, but it was also beneficial for impacting the way that other people viewed her.

“People are initiating conversation instead of just staring,” Cable’s mom, Linda, told the Huffington Post. “She feels like they see her, and not just her injury.”

This is an extreme shift from the initial reaction Cable received from people post-accident. Now, instead of Cable feeling uncomfortable, she can proudly share her story with them, because everyone is bound to ask her about the superwoman armor she is rocking.

Cable went into the doctor’s office recently in order to have a post-surgery checkin and to see the progression of her injury. Her injury has been healing properly, and she will be undergoing physical therapy shortly.

The doctor even reduced the time Cable needed to spend wearing her brace: she now gets to take it off for a few hours each day.

In a few weeks, Cable will be able to take off the brace for good, but something tells us that she will keep it as a souvenir so she can remember how courageous she is.