Andrew Seelhoff said he is learning how to walk all over again after he spent nearly half of his life in a wheelchair.
“It's just nice to be normal again,” said the junior high student.
Andrew’s mother, Mary Seelhoff, said it began when her son was seven years old. During soccer and T-ball matches, Andrew began experiencing pain in his right calf so severe he couldn’t walk.
“I would just lay on the couch and paint and stuff because it hurt so much to walk,” Andrew said.
Doctors diagnosed Andrew with a rare form of muscular malformation, a painful and debilitating condition he was likely born with.
Within a year of his diagnosis, Andrew was forced to be in a wheelchair. The following six years consisted of countless surgeries, pain medication and ethanol injections.
As a last resort, doctors recommended Andrew have his leg amputated.
Scared at first, the 14-year-old said it was the Challenged Athletes Foundation that inspired his decision to go through with the surgery.
“Seeing all of the amputees there living normal lives just showed me that there is life after amputation,” said Seelhoff.
Andrew had the surgery in June and while walking is still a learning process, he is finally doing the things he spent years dreaming of.
“And now to see his smile again…he hadn’t smiled much in seven years. He’s smiling again and laughing…it's just the most wonderful thing to experience,” said his mother.
On Thanksgiving, Andrew will be walking in the Turkey Trot in Oceanside alongside 76 members of “Team Andrew Seelhoff” there to support him.