LOMA LINDA, CA., April 21, 2009 -- Cameron Lutges received a big surprise on his seventh birthday: a brand new pair of running legs, built especially for him by the professionals at Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus.
"They'’re OK," said the first-grader at James Foster elementary school in the Santa Clarita area , as he tried to steady himself after putting on the custom-built legs. The new pair of legs was presented to Cameron during a birthday party in his backyard this week, and, as soon as he got his bearings, he was off and running all over the yard.
"He's getting used to it," said his father, Alex Lutges, who said he's excited for the new opportunities sure to open up for Cameron with his new legs. "It's important for him to have mobility just like everyone else." Mr. Lutges said he'd been advised to wait until Cameron was older before he got running legs, but he didn't want for his son to wait that long.
"He can now participate in things that he can never be able to do before," said Cameron's mom, Kristin Lutges.
When he was born, Cameron was missing part of his tibia, or lower leg bone, on both his legs. As he grew older, he had surgery and was equipped with artificial walking legs.
Cameron was referred to Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus a few weeks ago by Challenged Athletes Foundation, a San Diego-based non-profit group whose goal is to support people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles. Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus offers specialty care in a number of areas including physical medicine and rehabilitation.
The foundation underwrote the cost of Cameron's running legs, while prosthetist Michael Davidson and his team at the Loma Linda University Medical Center Orthotics and Prosthetics Department designed and built the running legs. The running legs are flexible, allowing Cameron to do such things as run and jump.
"Every kid deserves to run," Mr. Davidson said. Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus sees thousands of people each year needing artificial limbs, a handful of them children. He said one of the greatest satisfactions of his job is seeing the smile on people's faces when they receive their new limbs that help them regain mobility.
Loma Linda University Medical Center prosthetist Michael Davidson fits 7-year-old Cameron Lutges with a new pair of running legs, as Cameron's father, Alex Lutges, helps out.
About Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus (LLUMCEC)
Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus is 23-acre campus dedicated to providing a healing environment that offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient health-care services. East Campus includes a hospital with 118 licensed beds, two physician and diagnostic office buildings, and an ambulatory service center. Physical medicine and rehabilitation, orthopaedics, neurosciences, and family medicine services are the specialties incorporated into the overarching goal of East Campus.