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Spreading love this holiday season: Toddler with prosthetic legs makes big progress with support from many

Nowhere else does the holiday season like NYC: magical light displays, ice skating in the park, pop-ups shops for gifts, hot cocoa on every corner. Visitors and residents alike crowd around the Rockefeller Tree to take family photos, couples stroll through the Hudson Yards lights, and kids sing along to the Christmas on-stage musicals.

However, amidst the glitz and glamour of NYC winter traditions, every now and then we need a little reminder of what the holiday season is really about: love. It’s about recognizing the people who bring smiles to our faces even in the cold, it’s about being proud of all we accomplished and how we grew during the year, and finally, it’s about spreading that love– whether familial, friendly, romantic, or self– with others. 

That’s why, when we came across an inspiring story about a Brooklyn family supporting their son Christian as he learns to use prosthetics at just age 2, we wanted to share here to remind us all of how important it is to show our love and gratitude, because when we do, the impact we have on others in incredible. Christian, an identical twin, was born with a bi-lateral AK congenital fistula camela, which required amputation of both legs above the knee when he turned one. Here at New York Family, we are incredibly supportive of our NYC kids with disabilities and their families. We know how challenging this decision must have been for Christian’s family, but they were certainly not alone.

Under the care of Dr. Joshua Hyman, prominent orthopedic surgeon at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, New York-Presbyterian, Christian was fitted with his prosthetics by Miguel Gomez, a certified orthotist-prosthetist from East Coast Orthotic & Prosthetic Corporation.

“In a sense, it is advantageous when a child is required to use prosthetics, in their early, formative years,” says Vincent Benenati, CEO of East Coast O & P, “They learn how to function using the prosthetics, without ever having experienced use of their original limbs. Using the prosthetics becomes more natural to them.” 

Outside of his physical support through prosthetic fittings and regular therapy sessions, Christian receives emotional support from his twin brother. Although both are quite young– 2 ½ years old– they share a special bond in which they encourage each other to be the best versions of themselves. As Christian tries to keep up with his brother in daily, healthy competition, he builds strength (and they both would never turn down an opportunity to laugh and play together!).

Without the love and support of his brother, parents, and stellar team of doctors, perhaps Christian’s progress would’ve been slower. But he is full speed ahead, now taking steps, using a walker device, and continuously mastering new abilities. “With regular fitting and training, taking into account the latest advanced prosthetics, Christian should have very good skills as he matures,” adds Gomez. “Everyone on our team is so proud of what this toddler has accomplished!”

We are inspired by the bravery and optimism that Christian and all the people in his life embrace. Not only do we want other families who have kids with disabilities to find the help and resources they need, but we hope that everyone takes the time this holiday season to say “I love you”, to uplift those who are down, and to not be afraid to dream big, because anything is possible if we are surrounded by friends, family & beyond. 

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