SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio fifth grader Callie Cline may have walked on a hot pink “princess leg” for a few years, but she’s not a typical princess.
At 10 years old, she’s a competitive horseback rider, an animal lover and now an aspiring runner, thanks to a new prosthetic running blade.
But her journey as a tough and aspirational girl began at birth, when she was born with a lower leg deformity that left her with some bones completely missing. She was also diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, a heart condition that affects blood flow, her mother, Jaime Cline, said.
At 18 months old, the lower half of her left leg was amputated.
Callie's life changed in August after Hanger Clinic prosthetist Justin Pfaff and manufacturing partner Endolite exchanged her custom-made pink “princess leg” for a running blade.
Her first expression was “shock” when doctors presented her the blade, Cline said, but it later became the “best day ever” for Callie.
The new blade allows her to be more active with her peers, but her specific goal was to start running. Now, the family is training together for a 5K.
“Her endurance is a little bit challenged," but she “absolutely loves it," Cline said.
The family set a goal of a race in Austin in February, but a race in Waco in April is the backup.
It’s a challenge for the family of nonrunners, but it’s a test they’re willing to take head-on.
“She wants to do it, so we’ll do it,” Cline said. They train with sprinting and gait practicing inside a local gym.
Although she has the option to switch her running blade for a prosthetic foot, she chooses to use the blade 24/7, Cline said.
“She wants to show people that no matter what cards life gives you, I can handle whatever life throws my way.”
Those who want to follow Callie and her family on the journey to a 5K can follow her Instagram, The Princess & The Prosthetic.