Double Leg Amputee Christi Hoehn Takes First Steps in 16 Years

Part 1 in a 3-Part Series of Christi’s Remarkable Journey

TisBest is on a mission to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. In that spirit, we like to feature heartwarming stories of special people, like Christi Hoehn, who are also doing good in this world. Christi was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s digital network, Daily Smile. The program’s new series, Next Chapter, follows stories of people on the verge of major life changes. It showcases the small setbacks and big triumphs involved in undertaking new challenges. We hope Christi’s remarkable story inspires you to spread some kindness and love in your communities. 

Christi Hoehn was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease, at age 20. She struggled for years with pain, bone infections, surgeries, and debridement. As the disease progressed, causing circulation issues, Christi opted to have both legs amputated below the knee. Despite her profound physical loss, she got her life back. Now, at age 57, Christi has overcome adversity to raise a family, start a business, and inspire others. After 16 years in a wheelchair, she faced her biggest challenge yet. Her goal was to walk across the stage for her first ever public speaking event. TisBest Philanthropy partnered with The Ellen DeGeneres Show to help make Christi’s dream a reality.

Christi Hoehn Defies Doctor’s Grim Prognosis

Christi first experienced symptoms of scleroderma when she was 15 years old. She was diagnosed five years later, and doctors didn’t think she’d live past 26. At age 30, she experienced life threatening circulatory issues and made the difficult decision to have her left leg amputated below the knee. Nine years later, after the birth of her daughter, she started having issues with her right foot which resulted in another below knee amputation. It was a long and difficult road, including learning to wear prosthetics. However, Christi was relieved to no longer be in pain and grateful to be alive.

Another Setback Spins Christi in a New Direction

Christi Hoehn is a native of Kansas, but lived in Germany for seven years. During her time there, she visited a Christmas market. Although she was dressed for the cold weather, her upper legs got frostbite. Afterwards, it was too painful to wear the prosthetics. She accepted that she would live the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Being a bilateral amputee was part of her story, but she did not let it define her. She immersed herself into activities that brought her joy. In particular, she enjoyed cooking organic, healthy food and fostering engaging conversations with friends and family.

Christi is a self-taught culinary artist with a passion for the art of cooking. While in Germany she enjoyed the special occasion treat raclette – the traditional Swiss melting cheese which is poured over roasted potatoes, root vegetables, and cured meats. The food is prepared on a stone raclette grill placed on the dining table which makes the meal a communal experience. When Christi moved back to the States, she incorporated this tradition into her own family meals and even hosted table grilling nights for her friends. Then, many of her guests purchased tabletop grills to share the experience with their own families. Next, they encouraged her to introduce this new unique way of dining to others.

Christi Hoehn Gives New Meaning to Farm-to-Table Dining

In 2018, Christi Hoehn launched her own business called Talk of the Table. Its mission is to bring families and friends together through a brand new way to cook and entertain – table grilling. It’s a combination of Japan’s Teppanyaki, Korean barbecue, and the Swiss tradition of raclette mixed with the fun of fondue. Everyone gathers around the table to simultaneously cook their own serving and customize their meal to their taste. The experience allows for culinary creativity with whole foods and inspires conversations over breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. In addition to hosting table grilling gatherings, Christi shares experiences, recipes, and tips. She also recommends grills and accessories to help others create their own tradition of table grilling.

Amputee Steps out of Comfort Zone and Gets Down to Business

Christi Hoehn appears as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

In order for Christi to build her brand with a presence on social media, she needed to become an effective public speaker. As she stepped out of her comfort zone to do so, Christi was shocked to learn how much she was inspiring her community. She realized that she was able to move forward because of her disability rather than in spite of it. That revelation inspired Christi to become a motivational speaker. She had found her calling. 

At that moment, Christi vowed to walk across the stage with new prosthetic legs and deliver her first speech to friends and family who have supported her on her journey. Then, The Ellen DeGeneres Show partnered with TisBest Philanthropy to give Christi an amazing surprise! To follow Christi’s progress, click here for the next chapter.

Create More Warm Fuzzies!

Join us in the movement to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. If you feel inspired by this heartwarming story, spread a little more love in our world. Send a TisBest Charity Gift Card to those close to your heart so they can pay it forward to a charity that is close to theirs. Or give a card to a stranger as a random act of kindness. Together, you’ll do a world of good.

A TisBest Charity Gift Card design featuring an inspiring image of a para athlete with a prosthetic leg.

Share your giving stories with us on social by tagging your post with #RedefineGifting.