Like any 6-year-old, Elijah Brummond of Maple Grove is full of boundless energy. He participates in swimming and tae kwon do, and keeps his mom, Corinne, on her toes. What makes Elijah’s active lifestyle especially amazing? He is missing one foot and part of one leg, the result of a condition called fibular hemimelia.
When Elijah was a baby, his parents made the decision to have doctors at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare amputate the affected limb and replace it with a prosthetic, which would give their son lifelong independence and mobility. He received his first prosthetic from Gillette at age 1, and has been unstoppable ever since. Now a kindergartner, Elijah doesn’t mind telling classmates about his prosthetic.
“He gets a lot of questions,” said Corinne. “But he’s comfortable explaining it himself.”
Recently, when Elijah received a new prosthetic leg, he asked for a “behind the scenes” look at Gillette’s assistive technology laboratory, which custom-fabricates thousands of braces and prosthetics for children each year. His request gave Corinne, and the family’s longtime prosthetist Michelle Hall, an idea. They worked together to plan a one-of-a-kind, hands-on field trip for Elijah’s classmates to learn how devices like Elijah’s leg are made.
On April 24, Elijah’s and his peers from Heritage Christian Academy in Maple Grove were able to experience what is feels like to walk with prosthetic feet using special boots.
The kindergartners practiced using a myoelectric prosthetic arm that operates on motor impulse. They each took turns rotating between four different hands-on stations, learning all about upper- and lower-limb prosthetics. In doing so, they gained a brief glimpse into Elijah’s life as an amputee.
Assistive Technology Department employees of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, which creates orthotics (braces) and prosthetics on-site for children, like Elijah Brummond, were on hand the day of the hands-on field trip.