‘Baby Charli’ Takes First Steps on Prosthetic Legs

Feb 7, 2014 10:46am

“Baby Charli” is just 18 months old and still working on his first steps. But the toddler has come a long way, both from his home in Haiti and in his mobility.

Charli was born without fully developed arms and legs due to a genetic defect. However, he’s spent the last few months in the U.S. thanks to the non-profit Angel Mission which brought Charli to the U.S. so that certified prosthetist orthotists can help him get fitted with new arms and legs.

In the fall he received prosthetic arms allowing him to grab and start to pull himself up.

Doug Smiley, a certified prosthetist orthotist at Virginia Prosthetics in Roanoke, Va., said that the goal was to get Charli using prosthetics  around the age other toddlers are learning to pull themselves up and start to walk.

“Most children when they’re figuring out how to put weight on their legs, it’s part of the developmental process,” said Smiley. “Eventually just like most kids he’s going to learn to fall before he learns to walk. We had to start somewhere so we had to get him the opportunity.”

Smiley said Charli had acclimated very well and even wore his arm liners, which go underneath his prosthetics, around the house.

Last week Smiley said Charli took his first steps after being fitted with his first prosthetic legs but that like any toddler, he was still holding the hands of adults to move around.

“It’s not the easiest thing because he’s 18 months old,” Charli’s sponsor mother Vanessa Carpenter told ABC News affiliate WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va.

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Charli is learning to walk on prosthetic legs for the first time. (WDBJ/ABC)

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