The day a child takes their first steps is a special one for any parent. But for Amanda and Tim Waits, that moment must have been especially extraordinary, because their daughter, Juliette, took her first steps on a prosthetic leg.
Now, the toddler was about to test out a new prosthetic running blade. If the moment for the 2-year-old wasn’t already special enough — she was born without a leg bone — it became even more amazing when another woman testing a running blade for the first time, 45-year-old Emma Rodriguez, led by example and encouraged Juliette to get moving:
Rodriguez noticed the toddler might need a confidence boost when she began to cry about trading her old prosthetic leg for the new sports blade, which will enable her to run, jump and dance. So, Rodriguez begins to run next to Juliette while looking behind her and offering encouragement.
“She’s running — can you catch her?” Amanda Waits says to her daughter as she watches Rodriguez.
The heartwarming video also features Juliette’s supportive prosthetics doctors and parents happily running along next to her to encourage her new way of moving. There are also touching moments between the toddler and a three-legged dog named Vida, who had been rescued from Puerto Rico after last year’s hurricane. The sweet, curly-haired Juliette lies on the floor next to the pooch and reaches out to gently rub her back.
Juliette was born with congenital femoral deficiency and fibular hemimelia. Her mom told Storytrender “This consists of a missing bone in her lower leg, a club foot, a missing toe, a shorter femur, fewer ligaments in her knee and possible future issues with her hip on the left side.”
The family was given two options — limb lengthening of the left leg, or amputation. Juliette had her left leg amputated when she was 11 months old and was fitted with her first prosthetic shortly after. She took her first independent steps when she was 14 months and has been on the move since.
And if this video is any indication, then it’s safe to say she’s going to continue doing exactly that.