National Non-Profit Organization Provides Free Hip and Knee Replacements

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Most Marshall University students are cramming for finals this time of year.

But Ana Leen Hysell's getting ready for her big operation. On Friday, she's going under the knife for a new knee.

"I can be in horrible pain; it locks up," Hysell said. "If an elevator doesn't work in a building and I have class on the top floor, I tell my professions, 'I'm sorry, but there's no way.' "

Hysell is getting her operation free of charge. It's part of a nationwide program called Operation Walk USA.

The mission of Operation Walk USA, a non-profit organization, is to encourage and enable joint replacement surgeons to provide mobility and improve quality of life for uninsured patients in the United States who suffer from disabling arthritis of the hip or knee.

More than 109 orthopedic surgeons at 49 hospitals in 29 states will provide free joint replacements to 200 people on Friday, Dec. 7.

Dr. Ali Oliashirazi with Cabell Huntington Hospital is performing Hysell's surgery. Cabell Huntington is the only hospital in West Virginia that's participating in Operation Walk USA.

"About 49 million Americans are uninsured. Operation Walk USA hopes to bring this amazing operation to people who can't afford it," Dr. Oliashirazi says. "We've had terrific results with these operations, lasting 20 to 30 years."

Hysell hopes her life changes after Friday's operation.

"I've been hurting with this arthritis for several years," she said.

In January, she starts her last semester at Marshall University.

"Because I'm so close to graduating, pain is not an option," Hysell said.

To learn more about Operation Walk USA and its mission statement, just go to the Featured Links here at

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