We have a follow-up on a 9-year-old boy who recently had his leg amputated. Ethan Perez is now learning to walk with a prosthetic. He's had his new leg for just two weeks. He's still a little shaky on it, but already he's playing sports.
It's a far different situation now than when we first met him five months ago.
To meet Ethan is to love Ethan, and he's been melting hearts since 17 News first shared his story in September. Back then, he was a 9-year-old who needed his leg amputated. 17 News caught up with him again, months later, after his surgery. And, when our crew caught up with him Monday, we found Ethan playing basketball. He was shooting, dribbling and walking with his shiny, brand new leg.
"I think it's pretty obvious," said Ethan. "I mean, I have a leg that's blue, yellow, red, so yeah. Tah dah," Ethan said like a magician, pulling up his shorts to reveal his new leg.
According to Ethan's mom, Debbie Landry, Monday's steps are some of the first Ethan has taken without using a walker for support since he got the prosthetic two weeks ago.
"It's like an infant taking their first steps so, it's very exciting," said Landry.
"You know," added Tony Perez, Ethan's dad. "Things that he couldn't do that he used to love, to see him doing that again... Yeah, I can't even describe it."
Ethan was born with Arteriovenous Malformation or A.V.M., which progressively and painfully made his left leg useless. So, doctors recommended removing it and to begin learning to use a prosthetic.
"I knew it was going to be pretty hard," said Ethan of using a prosthetic, "But, I would say just a little it was harder than I thought."
But, Ethan makes it look so easy and fun. He doesn’t let a beautiful day, like Monday, go to waste. And, he's showing everyone he won't let any hurdle, even a leg, stand in his way. In fact, now he can jump over it and land on both feet.
"Because disabled people can do it too," said Ethan. "Being able to walk, being able to go outside without using my crutches or using a tricycle."
"I don't see a missing leg there. I see a complete body and that's all I see," said Tony Perez.
"He doesn't wake up, has not woke up, not one day, with a bad day. How many people can say that," said Debbie Landry.
"It doesn't matter if you are different or not," said Ethan.
Ethan's mom says doctors expect him to be fully comfortable with his prosthetic in a couple weeks. Ethan then wants to take part in his school's track meet in some fashion. And, Ethan says he's still single.