Posted: Feb 11, 2013 8:43 AM by Shannon Davis
Updated: Feb 11, 2013 8:48 AM
BUTTE - At two-years-old Sudha Davis, now 11-years-old, had both of her feet amputated. She had a total absence of the fibula in both legs. As a result her feet never formed properly.
Sudha was given her first pair of prosthetic legs three months after surgery.
"She was scheduled for seven days of physical therapy, but mastered everything in about five days," said Tom Davis, Sudha's father. "It was just a miracle really. She was never going to be able to walk without them, and how quickly she took to it just changed her life."
"I remember I really wanted to walk and determined to walk," Sudha said.
Sudha went home with a baby-walker to help her get around the house. She hated the walker, according to Tom, but it may have provided motivation.
"One day she was so mad after finishing it, I was holding her and her mom came down and sat down a couple feet away," Tom said. "As soon as she saw her mom she turned and walked to her to cry to mom and it was the first time she ever walked unassisted."
Ever since Sudha has been able to walk she's hit the ground running, and she has not stopped since.
"I do track, basketball, volleyball, soccer, dance, swimming, horseback riding, softball, clarinet, piano, violin and school," Sudha said.
Recently Sudha's doctors made her a more advanced prosthetic.
"Her old legs the joint was static," Tom said. "There was no real bend to them."
"The foot was just flat and no help supporting it," Sudha said. "So I would have to run on my toes more."
"Now her legs actually move over her heal when she is walking," Tom said.
With a more natural walking style, she decided to try snowboarding. Sudha's knees are too weak for skiing.
"If she ever caught an edge and it pulled her ski out it could hurt her knee," Tom said. "Where in the snowboard she's locked in. It's not as much of a concern."
"It takes something a little bit different to have the courage to try something as challenging as snowboarding, and snowboarding is not an easy sport to learn, especially for young children," said Eric McBride, a snowboard instructor at Discovery Ski School.
McBride taught Sudha on her first day of snowboarding lessons. McBride was behind Sudha on the chairlift when he heard her yell, "My leg!" McBride quickly recovered Sudha's prosthetic from underneath the chairlift and returned it to her at the top of the slope.
"She was smilin' when I got there, and I couldn't believe how positive her attitude was through the whole experience," McBride said. "She's one of the most inspiring children I've worked with, and I've been working with children for a long time."
Sudha has to get a new pair of prosthetics almost every year, and she makes sure they look stylish. She's had pink cheetah print legs, pink zebra print legs, and now she sports a pair of tie-dyed zebra print legs.
"I think they look cooler," Sudha said. "They are different than just regular, than just the regular legs and it expresses your personality more."
"She's just fearless," Tom said "She's never been afraid of trying anything. I've been afraid, like when she's riding a horse and it looks like she might bounce off of it, but she's not afraid of anything."
The new prosthetics help Sudha move faster, she said.
"We play a game out at recess and even with my boots I beat some people, and I use to not before we got my legs," Sudha said.
This spring Sudha plans to beat the girl who took home first place at the track meet last year. Sudha was invited to be the poster child for the East-West Shrine Game this year. Sudha visits Shriner's Hospital for Children in Portland every six months for check-ups.