Just like any other kid
The house is alive with activity. The sound of children laughing fills the air. Kids dart in and out of the kitchen to grab freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. It’s a normal weekend at the Pixley residence. Abby has come over to play with Morgan and her big sister Paige, and they’re getting ready to head over to the playground.
Morgan is just like any other kid. She daydreams about “froggies” and what she will be when she grows up. And she loves being active! From dance classes to swimming lessons to hiking, biking, and rock climbing, Morgan has boundless energy. She has even picked up skiing! Her parents — Ashlee and David — are athletic and have nurtured Morgan’s active spirit because “Being active helps build her confidence.”
It takes a village!
“All parents worry about their kids and we’re no different. We want to know that our children are safe and accepted by other kids,” says Ashlee. “At this age, kids are mostly just curious and have a lot of questions about Morgan’s leg. But we realize this could change as Morgan reaches adolescence, so we’re very conscious of doing what we can to raise a strong, confident child.”
It also helps to have a strong role model and mentor like Team Össur athlete Sarah Reinertsen living nearby. Just like Morgan, Sarah was born with Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD), a tissue disorder that led to the amputation of her left leg above the knee at the age of 7. “We feel lucky that Morgan has gotten to know Sarah because they have so much in common. Not only do they have the same condition, but it’s in the same leg! They even look alike! Morgan really is a mini Sarah. It’s so important that Morgan be able to see herself in someone like Sarah and dream big.”
The Pixleys are also fortunate to have connected with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) very early in Morgan’s journey. Morgan was just 6 months old when the Pixleys traveled to La Jolla for the annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge. They kept coming back year-after-year because, as Ashlee puts it, “It feels like a community.”
By 2016, at the age of 3, Morgan participated in her first Össur® Running and Mobility Clinic Presented by CAF. A year later, Morgan received her first Össur Flex-Run™ Junior running prosthesis. “It was time. Morgan was ready. We hike a lot and she didn’t want to be carried anymore.”
“The coolest kid in school”
“It’s so great to see all the kids getting running blades at such a young age,” says Sarah Reinertsen. “We didn’t even have running feet when I was a kid. I didn’t learn how to run until I was 12! It’s so critical that kids have access to this technology and the training to use it, so they develop positive, healthy habits that build confidence.”
“Thanks to our support network, we know Morgan’s going to be ok,” says Ashlee. “We don’t see any reason she can’t do anything she wants to do and is willing to work for.” And for anyone who has any doubts, let them ask Morgan herself. She’ll set them straight: “I think I’m the coolest kid in the school.”
Life Without Limitation means I can be “the coolest kid in school.”
Morgan was born with the same rare tissue disorder as Team Össur athlete Sarah Reinertsen. Called Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD), this condition resulted in the complete absence of Morgan’s left femur (thigh bone) at birth. As a result, she was fitted with her first prosthesis when she was just one year old. Her everyday leg consists of an Össur Total Knee® Junior coupled with the Össur Flex-Foot® Junior. However, for sports and play, Morgan wears an Össur Flex-Run Junior, without a knee. This is a common setup for young children, who either don’t yet have the build height for a knee or the coordination to manage a knee joint during physical activity. As she continues to grow and develop, Morgan will likely add a knee joint to her sports prosthesis, just like Sarah.