Mum thanks community for caring for her son's future
YOU won't find a two-year-old more excited about jumping in the air than Leichhardt toddler Khye Freeck.
They are only small jumps - a few centimetres off the ground - but to a boy who's never been able to jump before it's something to be proud of.
A year ago, Khye's parents Matthew Freeck and Angela Degn were faced with a dilemma: they had to raise $200,000 or their son's leg would be amputated.
Little Khye had been born with fibular hemimelia - a birth defect where integral bone structures were missing from his right leg.
It meant that Khye was unable to walk. Doctors in Australia said amputation was his best option.
Fortunately Matt and Angela found hope overseas, with a US-based specialist offering leg lengthening surgery with promising results.
The unique procedure was offered by Dr Dror Paley, an internationally renowned limb lengthening and deformity correction surgeon.
The price tag for the procedure was not cheap though, at a cost of about $200,000.
Desperate to keep their son's leg, the parents set off on a fundraising mission, and reached out to the public for help.
"I felt a bit low asking people to help my child," Angela, 24, said. "It made me feel like a failure as a mum.
"The response from the Ipswich community - and the rest of Australia - was overwhelming though."
Slowly but surely, as word got out about Khye, donations from people and business began to trickle in.
Within six months, the couple had enough to fly their son overseas to have the life-changing surgery done in January.
"The generosity of people - especially in Ipswich - is just amazing," Angela said.
After the surgery, Khye was required to wear a fixture frame for six months followed by a cast for another month.
His cast came off this month and now Khye is making the most of his rejuvenated leg.
"He did a little jump for the first time yesterday and he was so proud of himself," Angela said. "I felt like crying
"Khye's such a determined little guy, the night he got the cast off he actually walked a couple of steps."
The surgery isn't over just yet though, Khye will need more leg lengthening surgery in the next five to seven years, followed by another bout of surgery when he finishes growing.
Angela said the journey to save Khye's leg had been like "a roller coaster" - full of highs and lows.
"At first there was the low when we learned about Khye's condition, then the high when we found out about Dr Paley, then the low of how much the surgery would cost, then the high when all the donations came in," Angela said.