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Toddler has new lease on life after leg-lengthening surgery

OPERATION KHYE: Parents Angela Degn and Matthew Freeck with Khye after the surgery made possible by the generosity of local residents.
OPERATION KHYE: Parents Angela Degn and Matthew Freeck with Khye after the surgery made possible by the generosity of local residents.

WHEN he wakes from surgery, little Khye Freeck will have a new foot - and with it, a new lease on life.

The Ipswich toddler and his family flew to the US this month, so Khye could receive leg-lengthening surgery offered by a specialist based in Florida.

The two-year-old was born with a rare birth defect called fibular hemimelia.

The condition meant Khye's right leg was shorter than his left and that he was missing a bone in his leg and two toes, which prevented him from walking.

Doctors in Australia said amputation was the Leichhardt toddler's best option.

Fortunately parents Angela Degn and Matthew Freeck found an alternative.

The brave youngster underwent a life-changing procedure on Wednesday and came out of the surgery with flying colours.

Khye's aunt Chantelle Segal - who is with the family in the US - said Khye had been resting after he underwent the three-hour procedure.

Khye's parents Angela Degn and Matthew Freeck with their son after life-changing surgery was done to his leg in the US. Photo Contributed / The Queensland Times
Khye's parents Angela Degn and Matthew Freeck with their son after life-changing surgery was done to his leg in the US. Photo Contributed / The Queensland Times

She said her nephew would wear a fixator frame on his leg now for six to eight months, depending on his bone growth.

Khye will then be in a plaster cast for about six weeks.

Mrs Segal said it would take some time for Khye to get used to the frame but she expected him to be running around in no time.

The surgery was performed by Dr Dror Paley, an internationally renowned limb lengthening and deformity correction surgeon.

Mrs Segal said the surgery - which cost about $200,000 - would not have been made possible without the generosity of the Ipswich community.

She said $110,000 was raised last year, through various fundraising efforts to support Khye and his operation needs.

"The family are so thankful for everyone's support," said.

"We are overjoyed with Khye's outcome - this will be a new beginning for him."

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