Thanks to his $60K prosthetic legs, this Toronto boy can run, jump and play basketball with his friends
9-year-old Feranmi Oyegunle had both his legs fully amputated at just 18-months-old
Like any other 9-year-old, Feranmi Oyegunle wakes up in the morning with some decisions to make.
What to wear? What to eat? Maybe even what to do after school.
But along with those standard morning choices, he's got another, less common decision to make: which legs to wear?
Oyegunle had both his legs fully amputated when he was just 18-months-old. But today he can walk, play basketball and even swim, thanks his small collection of prosthetics.
"They help me run more and they help me jump higher," Feranmi said on Metro Morning.
But as a fast-growing kid, his high-tech artificial legs don't last very long. He goes through a new pair every other year. The new legs are expensive too.
His latest "blade runner" style running prosthetics — the same kind worn by Paralympic sprinters — cost around $60,000.
"They have this kind of spring so I can sprint and I can jump," Feranmi said of his bouncy, red and blue runners. "Not too high, but high."
Help from the War Amps
"I don't know how I would have been able to afford them," said Feranmi's mother Marian Ogunsola, a single mother in the process of finishing her accounting degree.
"It would have been so painful and heartbreaking for me to see my son not being able to walk around or do what other boys his age are doing," she said.
Her son's expensive running legs were paid for by the War Amps. The organization will also be fitting Feranmi for new swimming legs later this summer.
Without that help, Ogunsola says her son wouldn't be doing the sports and activities he takes part in today.
Provincial assistance lacking
Ontario's Assistive Devices Program covers the 75 per cent of the cost of "basic upper and lower-limb prosthetics."
"But with those legs he can't jump high, or spin or do activities like sports," Ogunsola explained.
She says the War Amps has changed that, and she points to its key tag program as its most powerful fund raising tool. The service distributes tags that help people recover their lost keys. The program is free, but users can donate to the organization if they choose.
With files from Metro Morning