When Cody comes bounding into the room, you are struck by his adorable, sweet face and endless energy. It’s easy to overlook the toddler’s missing limb. Cody is quite independent and has learned to do nearly everything he wants to do, from everyday tasks to running, biking – even skateboarding!
On December 4, 2009, Cody was born with two legs, two feet, and ten little toes – but his right leg curled inward and the foot pointed up toward his body. At first his family thought his leg may have been broken in the womb, but x-rays soon revealed he was missing his tibia and knee. The diagnosis was Tibial Hemimelia, a rare congenital malformation that occurs in approximately one of every million live births. An amputation was performed when he was just 8 months old, above where the knee *would have been.*
Cody was placed in a body cast that covered his amputated limb and continued up and around his waist, with a cutout on the bottom to allow diapering. But that huge cast didn’t hold this little guy back; on his first day home from the hospital he learned to crawl!
At 12 months old, Cody was ready to learn to walk. He was fit with a straight leg (no knee)prosthesis which was suspended by two straps which went around his waist. He learned how to walk just like other kids at that age! But since the knee didn’t bend and the prosthesis could not get wet, he needed to remove it for certain activities such as going to the beach or riding a tricycle.
His supportive and loving family see Cody no differently than any other young boy. But they wanted to expose him to others *like him* with limb loss who are able to accomplish great things, no matter what the obstacle. Attending the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC) was the perfect opportunity to meet some of those awesome athletes. Although he was too young to understand, his family was very encouraged and inspired by the abilities of the competitors, thinking, “Wow, that’s amazing! Look what these people can do! Just think of what Cody could accomplish!”
It was at the SDTC that we met Cody and his family. When they expressed a desire to “upgrade” his prosthesis to one with a knee, we invited them to SCP. Soon Cody was fit with his first “bendy” knee, which he gleefully adapted to almost immediately. Just a few months later, he was running, biking, and playing at the beach. He recently attended a skateboarding clinic, and we have no doubt he will master that sport in no time!
Cody is happy and has a great disposition. He is patient when people, especially other children, stare at him and ask what *that* (pointing to his leg) is or why he has it. With all that he’s accomplished at less than 2 years of age, we can only imagine what Cody will be doing by the time he’s 5…or 10…or 20! “Thank you all for Cody’s awesome leg!,” says his family. “We love it! It is so great to be able to take him to the beach and let him play in the sand and water with his leg ON!