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Allison Mijailovic on Alex’s Mobility Clinic Experience

Alex was diagnosed as Bilateral Fibula Hemimelia at his 20 week ultrasound scan. We were told Alex will walk with the legs he had but not to expect anything until about 18 months old. One month before Alex turned 2 his right foot was amputated.

He sent us all crazy trying to slow him down. He took his first steps on his first prosthetic leg 3 months later. Once he got over the initial fear, he was running with us chasing him, trying to slow him down. He surprised his doctors when he ran down the hall at his 18 month appointment. Why walk when you can run, and no limb deficiency was holding him back. It was at this point we felt the best avenue for his ongoing treatment was amputation.

Over the next 18 months it was decided the sound foot was going to be troublesome as he aged, and it was already slowing him down, so amputation was decided again. At 3 and a half years, Alex became a bilateral amputee after 2 months and he was up on 2 prosthetic legs running.

In August 2015, we had discussions with our amazing prosthesis Sam and decided to try the new Össur Cheetah Junior blades. From the moment Alex was fitted, he was running, not that he didn’t run before, but this was with ease and speed, you could see his frustrations from his old legs melt away.

Two weeks after Alex received his legs, he attended the first Össur Mobility Clinic held in Australia, located in Brisbane. He flew up for the event from Melbourne, we were unsure how he would go being so young at just 4 years old, but thought we had nothing to lose. For 2 days “Awesome Alex” as he was nicknamed, had found his place; he ran nonstop, people were exhausted watching him and he had found his people – people like him, people who liked to run, and people that just wanted to walk.

Alex inspired people around him with his enthusiasm and smile. He met Don Elgin, Mike Rolls, Joany Badenhorst, Dwayne Fernandes and all the Össur crew who became his family.

The following year, the Össur Mobility Clinic was held in Sydney, this time we all attended with Alex to experience his other family. I arrived and didn’t see Alex for much of the 2 days, everyone knew him by name and he greeted people with hugs and high fives. This was the year Alex met Liam Malone, an amazing young athlete from New Zealand born with the same condition as Alex and the bond between these two was instant. Alex had already declared he will be a Paralympian, and meeting these people just drives his dream. I had the chance to meet and talk with amputees and ask them about swimming, bike riding and other activities that can help Alex on his journey. I also got to talk to parents with amputee children, share stories with each other and see so many people run for their first time. I remember a parent asking me who I was here with, as I pointed to Alex zooming around the court, it was great to see he was doing his own personally designed obstacle course as he was now in Paralympic training.

Our 3rd Össur Mobility Clinic in Melbourne was the next stop for Alex’s journey, and by this time he called it Alex’s Össur Clinic. By the end of the 2 days, he had managed to get a black t-shirt from the Össur team. He was given the chance to hang Liam Malone’s Paralympic gold medals around his neck. This year Alex also assisted kids and adults register for their first Mobility Clinic and even encouraged them to run. This year we also had the pleasure of meeting Red (Jade Wheatley) whose enthusiasm as a fellow bilateral amputee just helps Alex see his life can be filled with anything he sets his mind to.

At the 4th Clinic in Adelaide, Alex loved having a go at taekwondo with Darrel Sparke, had some great shots in golf, ran around nonstop for 2 days, and had an amazing time while wearing his black t-shirt with pride, knowing his job was to help and encourage others.

We are already excited and planning our trip to the next Össur Mobility Clinic in 2019 being held in Gold Coast, this will be the 5th Mobility Clinic Alex would have attended.

With the life that Alex lives, I believe we owe so much to these Mobility Clinics, not only does he get pushed to his limits, but he has the chance to inspire other kids and adults as they see him living his dream. This year Össur provided Össur Family T-shirts and this really is our family now. As Alex grows older there are more amazing offers to have him surfing, skiing, skydiving and snowboarding, helping his dream to become a Paralympian a reality. All of this is possible because Alex is just like any other kid thanks to his Cheetah blades.