Austin Blaylock was born with a congenital birth defect that affects only 1 in 40,000 births, called Congenital Fibular Hemimelia. They were informed by two different orthopedic specialists that amputation was the best route to take for Austin due to the fact he would be tall and not able to bare that much weight on his left leg. Austin has only three toes on his left foot, no ankle joint, which means he is unable to rotate his foot side to side or up and down, his foot is almost half the size of his right foot, meaning he wears a size 11 on the right foot and only a size 8 on the left, and missing a great deal of musulature and tendons in his right lower leg, which makes the leg approximately half the size of the right leg. Last but not least, his overall expected left leg length discrepency was to total almost 5 inches by the time he was fully grown.
When Austin was 6 months old they were able to locate a doctor in Baltimore, MD named Dr. John Herzenberg at the Mt. Sinai Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, International Center for Limb Lengthening. Dr. Herzenberg was and continues to be their saving grace. When they finally got an appointment with him (they had to wait 6 months to get the initial visit) he assured them that he could help Austin be as normal as possible without having to amputate his leg. The next couple of years was a waiting game. When he was three years old, Austin had his first operation. Dr. Herzenberg completed the first of many surgeries that lied ahead for Austin. His first limb-lengthening surgery along with reconstruction of his ankle and foot bones to provide stability for Austin going forward. Austin still has no joint his his left foot/ankle and is still unable to rotate his foot side to side or up and down, but he is able to support his weight, which was why the other doctors had told them to amputate his leg.
Since his first surgery, at age three up until September 2012, Austin was able to live a "normal" everyday kids life. Something his family initially thought would be impossible for him. They all knew that when Austin entered puberty that he would enter into a realm of multiple procedures in order for him to maintain a normal lifestyle going forward & minimize health risks as he grew older.
The first procedure was completed in September 2012, which was "Correction of Angular Deformities" in the knees due to his condition. It entailed placing eighth plates & screws between the lower right knee & the tibia/fibula at the growth plate and another in the upper left knee between the knee and the femur. These plates were placed to straighten his legs as much as possible prior to making any corrections in length discrepancies. He completed eight weeks of physical therapy and the doctors have been astounded by his ability to acheive more flexibility than he had to begin with.
His next surgery was due in May 2014, but the surgery was postponed so he would have the opportunity to finish his baseball season, becuase it was very important to him. In August 2015, Dr. Herzenberg removed both eighth plates & screws out of Austin's knees and drilled into the growth plate on the right leg (the "good leg") to stunt the growth, which is called Percutaneous Epiphysiodesis. Recovery from this procedure was approximately 4 to 6 weeks of carefully ensuring knee stability to prevent fracturing the newly drilled area of the growth plate. Following that he attended 6 to 8 weeks of physical therapy 3x per week to achieve his desired mobility. He was carefully monitored every 3 months during that 12 month process to ensure that the rate of growth was accurate and that the desired outcome was achieved. By stunting his overall heighth approximately one inch, it helped to eliminate the need for two more limb lengthening procedures. Unfortunately, after this procedure, due to the strain on the left leg, that he would no longer play baseball in order to maintain this leg, knee, and hip for years to come.
With all of this said, they are now in the process of the FINAL LIMB LENGTHENING and need as much assistance as possible with costs. They are in need of donations to assist with covering extremely high deductibles for the surgery and heafty lodging expenses for the 12 weeks they have to remain in Baltimore, MD. Their overall goal is to raise $6,000.00 (lodging is $450 per week). Please help this family reach their goal!!
Thank you all for taking the time to read and learn about Austin's condition as well as supporting their family during a very difficult time. We know that a lot of you have been through tough times as well. Anything you can do will help. Even if it's only $5 or $10. Their family is very thankful and they appreciate all of your prayers, love, and support!!
With Love, Austin Blaylock & Family