Colo. teen chooses leg amputation

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September 8, 2013, 10:12 am
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(NECN/KSL: Alex Cabrero) - For most 13-year-old boys, having your legs amputated would be the worst, but Kaleo Niko couldn't wait.

"I'm actually really happy because now I don't have to have any more feet pain. I just have to go through a couple of more weeks of this and then I'll be good," said Kaleo.

Kaleo was born with arthrogryposis. He's had four surgeries on his feet, the first when he was just a few months old, but none of them took away the pain for good. He couldn't do what all the other kids did, like swimming, running, or skiing or more than a few minutes at a time.

"I couldn't keep up with my friends. Sometimes I had to just sit out and watch them," said Kaleo.

Kaleo decided enough was enough - it was time to get rid of his legs.

"This is the only option, because I've already had four other surgeries," said Kaleo.

"I remember one night he just was looking at me, crying. He goes, 'I'm done,'" said Helen Niko, Kaleo's mother.

Kaleo's mother was worried about amputation, but she knew this sort of pain was something not even a mother's hug could fix.

"As a parent you want to be able to take that pain, but there are some that you can't," said Helen.

In fact, when she was pregnant with Kaleo, doctors told her something was wrong and she could abort him. She said no way.

"I just cant imagine not having him here," said Helen.

At Shriner's Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Kaleo's two legs were amputated below the knee. Finally, except for recovering from the surgery, the pain was gone.

"It feels really weird because I can wiggle my toes, but I don't have any toes," said Kaleo.

He will get prosthetic legs next month and then go on being a kid for more than a few minutes at a time.

Tags: leg amputation, Alex Cabrero, Shriner's Children's Hospital
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