Christian Calamuci, 17, was born in South Africa with legs that bowed out dramatically, making it impossible to walk for long periods of time, according to New York ABC station WABC-TV.
"I couldn't stand for more than two minutes, I couldn't run," Christian told WABC. "My legs, they didn't bend."
Laura Calamuci, of Staten Island, New York, adopted the boy from a South African orphanage as a child, according to WABC. "His legs made perfect circles," Calamuci told the station. She's been trying to help her son get moving ever since.
After meeting with doctors in the U.S., Christian was told his best bet was to amputate his legs from above the knee and try using prosthetic legs instead.
"[The doctor] said, 'Buddy, I don't think your legs are cut out for this life, would you consider for having both of your legs amputated above the knee and getting prosthetics?'" Christian recalled.
The teen is now past surgery and using prosthetics that have computer processors in them that adapt to his stride. But the cost is substantial -- $200,000 -- and while insurance has covered some of it, the Calamuci family has been fundraising to cover the rest of it, according to WABC.
They are now working with the Emergency Children's Help Organization on Staten Island, which is going to match up to $30,000 in donations to the family's online fundraising page, WABC reported.
"This is whole new life for him and he deserves it," Calamuci said, according to WABC.
The Calamucis did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.