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Success Story: Isaiah Thompson 


Isaiah was born on March 18, 2005. He had a pretty challenging start to life. Not only was he seven weeks premature and only 3 pounds 5 ounces, but he was born without a tibia in his right leg (tibial aplasia), and with a condition called electrodactyly that created hands missing several digits. We knew from the beginning that Isaiah would never be able to walk on his right leg. Without the tibia, there was no bone structure to support an ankle or to anchor his foot. However, he quickly put on weight and began to thrive as any typical healthy bouncing baby boy. X-rays confirmed the lack of bone structure in his right leg, and the doctors told us to just get him through his first year (he could certainly crawl the same as any other baby), and then decisions would be made when he reached walking age.

Isaiah had his first amputation shortly after his first birthday. The surgeons amputated the foot and preserved the lower leg with the hope that a fully functional knee would develop. Isaiah received his first prosthesis shortly after – a stiff legged prosthesis with a “nub” that extended from the back for his lower leg to rest in. Isaiah very soon after learned to walk. At age three, it was very clear that neither bone nor ligaments were developing in the lower leg, and there would be no knee structure. So Isaiah had his second amputation that summer, a through the knee procedure. Isaiah’s recovery was much more difficult with the second amputation, but he weathered the storm.


That fall, Isaiah received his first prosthesis with a fully functional knee. We knew shortly after that the decision for the second amputation was the right one. Isaiah was experiencing so much more freedom with the new prosthesis. He was able to walk with a more natural gait, and had much more flexibility for kneeling, jumping, and running. Isaiah is now 4 years old. He is one of the most active children in our neighborhood. He loves to “shoot hoops” and particularly likes to have someone defend him while he slips around to make the basket.(Isaiah’s special request for his prosthesis was a basketball pattern on the upper leg sleeve). He rides his Razor scooter with boundless energy, confidently pushing off with his prosthetic leg while balancing on the scooter with the other. The team at Human Designs has been so supportive of Isaiah and sees all the great potential in this little boy.

Isaiah knows absolutely no limits in life. He’s learning to play the violin and piano, goes to the gym once a week for gymnastics lessons, and is a pro at Wii bowling. He is in his second year of skiing lessons and is now confidently pointing his skis downhill and going as fast as he can. The Orange County chapter of Disabled Sports USA has been wonderfully supportive of his desire to learn. Isaiah was recognized as DSUSA-OCs “most inspirational athlete” at the end of his first year of lessons.

He loves to wrestle with his siblings and have contests on the backyard trampoline. (His siblings show no mercy – yet another reason Isaiah is one tough little boy). His parents are thankful for the professional and loving care he’s received from doctors, nurses, therapists, and prostheticians alike. They have all seen and nurtured Isaiah’s remarkable courage and vigor for life. There’s no holding this little boy back. 



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