Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Overcoming Challenges With A Smile

15 Oct 2009Little Cody McCasland was born six weeks premature in October 2001 via emergency caesarean, he was rushed off to the NICU and was not expected to live. Undiagnosed, all they knew was that he had 4 toes on his right foot and his legs weren't quite right, Cody's dad Mike noticed that they weren't quite right when they didn't appear to straighten out. He was transferred to another hospital and had two surgeries and spent a total of 23 days in the NICU.

Still with no formal diagnosis, the family did not know what to expect for their baby's future, he had no knee and no tibia (part of the shin) in his right leg, it would need to be amputated in the future. They were unsure what was in store for the left leg and Dr's said they would need to wait and see how it developed.

He needed surgery on his right hip as it was dislocated, once it had been put back into place, he required to be in a hip spica cast for three months. A hip spica is a body cast that keeps the back straight and keeps the patient in a laying down position keeping the abdomen and legs immobilized as in the example I have attached below. They are a horrible but sometimes are a vital medical requirement, I should know, I have had two in my life and let me tell you, they are the most uncomfortable things ever! You can't sit, can't walk, most of the time it's too heavy to be lifted in and you can't go to the toilet or bathe normally either, not good.

In 2002, Cody had both of his legs examined and Dr's discovered that both legs would not be able to function normally. The family had to face one of their toughest choices ever, to have their son in a wheelchair forever with legs that wouldn't work or even let him sit up properly, or amputate them both from the knee down and try and let him walk with prosthetic legs. They chose to amputate.

In 2004, Cody was diagnosed with severe Osteopenia, which caused his bone density to be very low and could cause future bone breakages if left untreated. He was given treatment to help strengthen his bones which was given intravenously for 3 days every 4 months for a year and a half. His bones have now returned to a normal density and he no longer requires treatment.

Cody is now 8 years old and even after all the setbacks he has been given in his short life, he is truly an inspiration. With no legs, Cody not only walks very well on his prosthetic legs but he runs in triathlons, athletics events, rides horses, swims, plays ice hockey, plays baseball, t-ball, soccer, gymnastics, golf and he's even flown a plane.

Thanks to his fantastic parents Mark and Tina, Cody always has a smile on his face. They now have another child, a daughter Callie who can walk and has had no problems with her legs.

Cody is a spokesperson for amputees and does public speaking to raise awareness and together with ‘Team Cody' they raise money for the ‘Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children' the hospital that took care of him through the years and helped him walk in his first pair of legs. In five years, they have managed to raise almost $92,000 for the hospital.

Last year they raised $3,500 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which helps people with amputations achieve their sporting dreams, Cody has now been asked to be a spokesperson for the CAF.

Cody has touched the lives of many and made people realise what's important in life with an email that has been circulating for years of his smiling face overcoming challenges no one would've ever imagined.

He's appeared on countless talk shows and current affairs shows across America, including appearances on Oprah, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Dateline and Inside Edition.

If you would like to see Cody's website – Team Cody, click here - http

Cody running with that big smile on his face

McCasland family at the San Diego Triathlon Challenge 2008

Cody with friend Scout

Cody with his friends at swim clinic

Cody as a toddler

Cody as a baby - before his amputations

Example of a baby in a Hip Spica Cast

Cody playing ice hockey

Overcoming Challenges With A Smile

Cody with his different legs

Cody meeting Oprah Whinfrey

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Previous Comments

Jean from Camden posted on 24 Nov 2009
My goodness Jodie - I complain if I have a sore toe! this young chap is a true inspiration, thank you for sharing his story.

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