Teenager Kane awe-struck by flame de­sign for limbs

Maroochy Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

AT SEVEN-years-old, Kane Bil­ton made a de­ci­sion any per­son would strug­gle with when he asked doc­tors to am­pu­tate his leg.

The Pel­i­can Wa­ters now-teenager was born with a short left limb and three toes on his foot, which sur­geons said made him a per­fect can­di­date for leg length­en­ing from age six.

His leg was bro­ken, re-bro­ken, braced and stretched 5.1cm within the first year, but the painful process didn’t stop his an­kle grow­ing in­wards.

Af­ter mul­ti­ple cor­rec­tive surg­eries but on­go­ing dif­fi­culty walking, the Bil­tons were faced with the heart-wrench­ing de­ci­sion; do they en­dure more surg­eries, or do they opt for a pros­thetic?

Mother Tess tells of her and her hus­band An­thony’s strug­gle, but said ul­ti­mately it was Kane’s body and Kane’s de­ci­sion.

“He de­cided he would go ahead with the am­pu­ta­tion, be­cause no mat­ter how many op­er­a­tions he had, the end re­sult would never be as good as a pros­thetic would of­fer,” she said.

“He would al­ways strug­gle with walking, have trou­ble with his knee while walking, which af­fects hip and lower back.”

Now aged 14, Kane fi­nally feels proud to show off his pros­thet­ics af­ter a lo­cal busi­ness col­lab­o­ra­tion pro­duced limbs with two in­cred­i­ble three-di­men­sional flame de­signs of his choos­ing.

Hy­dro­graph­ics Noosav­ille owner Ai­den O’Sul­li­van adds his cre­ative flare to pros­thet­ics cre­ated by Nam­bour’s Dewet Heyns of Dy­namic Pros­thet­ics and Orthotics.

The pair both agree the part­ner­ship helps the self-es­teem of their clients, aged from in­fancy through to old age.

Kane is no ex­cep­tion and is awe-struck by his best legs yet, which his friends tell him are “sick” and “rad”.

But for the Year 8 Unity Col­lege stu­dent it’s about more than the aes­thet­ics.

“It just makes me feel like I can fit in and be much more nor­mal,” he said.

“With some other legs I couldn’t do as much … I felt an­noyed. Now there’s noth­ing I can’t re­ally do.”

Tess ad­mires her son’s strength as she tells of her own hurt at the harsh words, the point­ing and the stares her son en­dures.

“Kids can be in­cred­i­bly cruel, they can be very amaz­ing and wel­com­ing, but also say and do some hor­ri­ble things,” she said.

“As a day-to-day thing Kane has to deal with com­ments made about him or his leg .. but the type of kid he is, he doesn’t come home com­plain­ing or an­gry.

“He just thinks its their prob­lem, peo­ple are al­ways go­ing to say stuff, but he just gets on with liv­ing which I think is amaz­ing.”

And though her son has al­ways put on a brave face, she be­lieves his new­est “super-sonic” limb is a con­fi­dence boost for her brave boy.

“I look at it and I think, ‘That leg is just beau­ti­ful’,” she said.

“It has to help, even in some small shape to help the self es­teem, to say, ‘Yes, I have a pros­thetic leg’, and be proud of it in­stead of be­ing pointed at all the time be­cause you’re dif­fer­ent.

“But there’s your lit­tle stamp you can put on your­self ... your cre­ativ­ity and your in­di­vid­u­al­i­sa­tion, and be proud.”


BIG DAY: Kane Bil­ton, 14, has just re­ceived his cus­tom-made pros­thetic leg. Kane with his mother Tess Bil­ton.

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