Seven-year-old Caiden O’Rourke of Abingdon, Pennsylvania was born with a rare bone deformity complicated by another congenital problem that led to both his legs being amputated in utero. Undaunted by his disability, Caiden is a huge hockey and baseball fan and plays with his two brothers with the help of custom prosthetics.
Caiden’s condition means he has to make frequent trips to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia to get a good fit on those prosthetics, but his legs also give him a chance to show off his personality and style.
“We wanted him to be proud of them so we let him go to the store and pick out different fabrics and all kinds of things,” Caiden’s mom Katie O’Rourke told WPVI Action News about Caiden’s custom legs.
Caiden’s latest obsession is the hairy googly-eyed Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty, so he got a custom orange leg decorated with the hairy hockey mascot.
If you’re curious about Caiden’s affinity for Gritty he’s got some good reasons for stanning the bottom-heavy hockey goon.
“He went bungee jumping from the top of the ceiling and then he fell on the ice. He’s not afraid of anything,” Caiden said of his hero.
“He thinks Gritty is crazy and he loves everything about that because he’s crazy and not afraid of things,” WPVI quoted an O’Rourke family member as saying.
Caiden’s Gritty fandom and impeccable ~prosthetic aesthetics~ led to a surprise visit from Gritty, and in the moment his eyes got almost as wide as his hero’s.
Caiden also scored some pretty sweet Flyers swag—a hockey puck, a bobblehead, and a custom jersey so he can feel like a real member of the Flyers team. He’ll get a great opportunity to wear it, too. The Flyers organization says they’ve invited Caiden and his family to a home hockey game.
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