My name is John Michael. I arrived in May 1997 to my anxiously awaiting parents, sisters and Nana. I was the answer to what my mom “ask and ye shall be given.” A long awaited son and heir to the family name.

Mom’s pregnancy with me was uneventful. We had sonograms and the amnio that the doctors suggested. During my eighth month, we moved from Virginia to Arizona.

Since my folks weren’t expecting anything but a naturally healthy baby boy, they had a shock when I presented with the malformed left lower leg and foot. Only the large toe was there on a very small floppy appendage. How could this be? Not one word was uttered regarding a deformity of one of my limbs.

What was supposed to be a day of celebration and rejoicing was actually interspersed with lots of tears and fears.

To make a long story short, we all had a lot to work through to get me where I am today. We knew that I would never be able to walk on what little foot I had, so the next best thing was a prosthesis. My mom went right to work to find out all she could regarding these limb anomalies and their treatment.

In February 1998, I went to Shriner’s Hospital in Utah and had a Symes amputation/disarticulation of my left foot. We can’t say enough regarding their care and compassion! I had a cast on my leg and amazed my parents and extended family when I was up and weight bearing on it the next day! We met some really outstanding people who put us in touch with a wonderful prosthetist here in Arizona.