Jericho Rodriguez has never known life without his artificial limbs.
Following an eight-hour double amputation surgery on both his legs when he was just 14 months old, Jericho fitted for his first prosthesis.
“The first time he stood up, he cried, and I cried too,” said Jericho’s mother, Joy, describing the very moment, a month after his surgery, she saw her son stand.
Jericho was born without the tibia bones in his legs, a rare condition known as fibular hemimelia. “When he was born, I asked my husband how he was, and my husband replied, ‘He is beautiful — I am just worried he’s not going to be able to walk,’” Joy said. “It was heartbreaking.”
Despite Jericho’s infectious exuberance, like any parent of a child with a physical disability, Joy was concerned about his future. “We didn’t know how it was going to be for him growing up. Why did this happen? What did we do wrong? Our other two kids were fine,” Joy said recalling the births of her two older children, Josh and Janelle. “We were very emotional. I knew there was going to be hundreds of doctor’s appointments, but we had to make do with what we had.”
So they did. Today, Jericho is a smiling, 10-year-old innovative jokester with an imagination beyond any of his physical limitations. He enjoys running marathons with Team Triumph Canada and swimming. When kids ask about his legs, Jericho replies, “Oh, I got bitten by a crocodile.”
Currently, Jericho has three different prosthetic legs “…and that’s just for him to live like a normal, active boy,” said Joy. Coupled with the need to use the stairs to access his bedroom, walk through his front door and even shower, Jericho needed more than just his prosthetics to get by.
“I tried seeking funding and would never be approved,” said Joy who was at the end of her rope finding options for equipment to support Jericho. “Easter Seals has been a great, great help. We are very appreciative for their generosity and without their help, where would kids with physical disabilities be?”
“I don’t think people know how much money goes into mobility equipment, especially for kids because they grow fast,” said Joy. “From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank Easter Seals for their generosity and donations that go a long way to helping kids, like my son, in their daily lives.”