Kayden Elijah had both his right foot and left leg amputated earlier this year, but that’s not stopping the 2-year-old from teaching himself how to walk with prosthetics on both legs.
Elijah was born with omphalocele, a birth defect found in infants that causes the intestines and other abdominal organs to stick out of the belly button. He was also born with an amniotic band wrap around his legs, leading to deformity.
An omphalocele is a type of hernia that develops in the womb due to the muscles in the baby’s abdominal wall not closing properly. Doctors can identify an omphalocele during a prenatal ultrasound and can repair it through surgery; the "sac" covering the organs is enveloped in a man-made material, and then slowly pushed back into the child’s abdomen. Once the sac is safely inside the abdomen, surgeons remove the man-made material and close the abdomen. However, the child needs to be carefully monitored right after birth in order to ensure there won’t be complications. Many children with an omphalocele also have other birth defects.
Elijah’s mother, Nikki Kinko, has started a fundraising page for her son with the hopes of raising $50,000 for more equipment and therapy. Kinko originally posted the video of him on her Facebook, but it has gone viral since. She explains, “We are raising money for extra physical therapy visits, braces and prosthetics for Kayden and to pay off outstanding medical bills. We are also trying to publish a book about his life and prayerfully have him attend a camp for children with prosthetics in Atlanta when he is old enough.”