Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baby Bladerunner Ellie Joins Olympic Hero Pistorius

Ellie Challis as an infant
We recently introduced you to Olympian Oscar Pistorius, now please meet an even younger miracle who is also sure to inspire.

Ellie Challis, who lost her hands and lower legs to meningitis as a baby, has now become the youngest person in the world to be fitted with the flex-run feet. These prosthetic legs are also the ones used by athlete Oscar Pistorius, also known as the Blade Runner. She used to walk with conventional prosthetic limbs, but found them to be painful and uncomfortable, so her parents, Paul and Lisa, contacted the world-renowned prosthetic limb center Dorset Orthopaedic. Although worried she would not be able to balance properly on them, managing director Bob Watts agreed to to make a junior version of the carbon-fibre blades. 

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At just 16 months old Ellie was struck with meningitis. Her heart stopped and her parents were called in to say their last goodbyes to their infant daughter.
Blade Runners: Ellie and Oscar
Mother Lisa Challis says, 'We thought we were going to lose her, but amazingly she pulled through and her heart started again.' Despite the restarting of her heart, things were not looking up for the Challis family when over the next four days Ellie's legs and arms started to turn black and doctors said they would have to be amputated. After a six hour operation, Ellie was left without hands or her lower legs. 

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The blades have proven to change her life, as they did for Oscar Pistorius. Despite initial concerns, the blades have shown no negative impacts on Ellie -- who is now walking twice as fast on her new legs. Much of her inspiration and motivation comes from Pistorius, as well as her twin sister Sophie. People like Oscar Pistorius as well as baby blade runner, Ellie, are incredible demonstrations of the beauty and resilience of the human spirit. 

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