Mother Agrees to Have Daughter’s Leg Amputated to Improve Her Life
Three-year-old Jemma Kelly didn’t have the easiest start in life. Born with a deformed leg and only six fingers, her family wondered if Jemma would ever be able to run, walk, or play like other children. Her parents’ brave decision to have her leg amputated in order to improve her life. Today, Jenna is a lively, active little girl capable of doing virtually anything her peers can.
Immediately after birth, it was apparent that Jemma suffered from a genetic abnormality. Parents Tamara, 26, and Jimmy, 34, were shocked by their daughter’s appearance. “She only had three fingers on each hand,” Tamara remarked. Jemma was also born without an ankle bone in her right leg. Due to the missing bone, the deformed leg was hook-shaped, and significantly shorter than the left.
In the past, individuals with deformities such as Jemma’s have lived difficult lives. One similar condition causes children to be born with fewer fingers than normal and claw-like hands. Unable to walk or care for themselves, people with this condition were often forced to exhibit themselves in circus sideshows. Many were resigned to living in institutional care. Today, modern medicine brings a great deal of hope to individuals with similar disorders. The Kellys wanted to pursue a treatment that would allow Jenna to live as much of a normal life as possible.
Doctors suggested a series of extensive, potentially painful surgeries to lengthen Jemma’s leg with screws and metal rods. Tamara wasn’t thrilled with the idea. What kind of childhood would Jemma have if she were constantly in and out of the hospital, undergoing endless surgeries? After many difficult discussions, Tamara and Jimmy made a decision. They felt that Jemma’s quality of life would be higher if she had her leg removed from the knee down.
“I will not let her life be changed by her disability,” Tamara told reporters of her decision. So far, it appears that her dream for her daughter has come true. Jemma is now able to do virtually anything other three-year-olds are capable of. After receiving a prosthetic leg at nine months old, her adaptations are awe-inspiring. Whether playing games, riding a bike, or roughhousing with her brother, Jemma’s life is similar to those of her peers. She can run and jump on a trampoline with ease, balance on her left leg, and hop without her prosthesis.
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That’s not to say the transition was easy. Jemma has undergone extensive physical therapy to learn to walk, something her mother describes as “a massive accomplishment.”
Alongside regular physical therapy, Tamara and Jimmy have encouraged Jemma to take part in sports. They believe that movement and exercise will help their daughter grow even more comfortable with the prosthesis, and her body. Despite having only six fingers, Jemma plays tee-ball, throwing, catching, and running like the rest of her teammates. There isn’t a challenge, it seems, that little Jemma won’t take on.
Like other kids her age, Jemma has big dreams. More than anything, she wants to be a cheerleader when she grows up. Thanks to her parents’ brave decision, she just might be able to make her dream come true. Her prosthesis allows her to take part in mini cheerleading, and she can kick and flip just like the other kids. Jemma might be a little different from her teammates, but you have to admit, she’s got a double dose of fighting spirit!