Skip to navigation

What we're up to

news News Tuesday, January 29, 2019 Tuesday, January 29, 2019 1:56 PM - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 1:56 PM

Thankful for Shriners for Children Medical Center

by Ashlee Pixley, Morgan’s mom

Thankful for Shriners for Children Medical Center

Morgan was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency. Her left leg was shorter than her right. It was a difficult time for our family, since we had no idea what her future would look like. We are an active family and did not know how this would affect her mobility – if she would walk or need a wheelchair, or if there were any surgical options.

Despite our concerns, she was as happy a baby as we could wish for. We met with the team at Shriners [Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles, now Shriners for Children Medical Center] when she was about 6 months old. Her surgeon at Shriners discussed surgical options to consider and most importantly assured us that whatever choice we made, Morgan would be able to walk with a prosthetic.

We spent the next year researching our options. At around 9 months old, she began to be fitted with her first leg with Micah at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles. With incredible patience and skill, he met with us many times over the next nine months to fit and fine-tune her leg as she learned to stand, balance and finally walk. On her left side, the leg had to go around her foot and ankle and would not bend, but she learned to walk by swinging her leg around and forward.

After a few months of research, we decided that we would amputate her foot to incorporate a mechanical knee, allowing her to bend the leg. We chose to do the surgery before the age of 3 to lessen the trauma she might carry through to adult memories.

She was reticent after the surgery, but as soon as she recovered, she was walking, hiking and dancing again. That year she did her second Kids’ Fun Run, and though she was one of the last to finish, she delighted the onlookers by high-fiving nearly every person along the route.

We have really appreciated having Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles and now Shriners for Children Medical Center as part of Morgan’s medical team. It has been such a benefit to have the special expertise that Shriners brings from years of experience with specialized orthopaedic cases and the more rare conditions. We also have met several other children and families through Shriners and love the chance to share stories.

Now a very active 5-year-old, Morgan has taken tap dance, ballet classes and gymnastics. She loves to camp, go to the beach, hike, ride her scooter, and enjoys 5k walks and runs. She is now on a swim team and is learning to ride her bike, and has even attempted a kids’ mountain bike race like her big sister, Paige.