Seattle Children’s hospital's prosthetic department will go to great lengths to make sure they build just what a patient needs, and sometimes that means the far corner of the galaxy for the smallest and youngest of Star Wars fans.
20-month-old Ben Bronske was born with an uncommon condition called macrodactyly, where the tissues and bones in his foot were growing at an accelerated rate.
Faced with either multiple surgeries or amputation, the Bronske family had to make a choice.
“When I heard amputation, I said no that's not happening, but once he started to explain it to us and said, you know what, he's going to lead a lot more of a normal life if he has a prosthetic versus toes missing or deformed and stuff,” said Sarah Bronske, Ben’s mother.
Ben's lower leg was amputated, but his journey had just begun as the force is strong with young Ben. He eagerly learned to walk, and the team at Seattle Children's prosthetic lab was ready to make a leg worthy of a Jedi.
Peter Yukawa, a clinical prosthetist and orthotist, and his team create prosthetic limbs and braces, making movement possible for children every day.
“We take a bunch of measurements of their limbs as well as a cast of their limb,” said Yukawa.
Once the prosthetic is designed the patient can add their own personal touch.
“He told us we could customize it. I like that idea, because I didn't like that there was going to be two different skin tones. I wanted to do a gray, because I figured that would go with any outfit that we put on him. And then I went to the fabric store saw the Stormtroopers and was like this is cool,” said Sarah.
There are no limitations on what they can do with a prosthesis, and as with Ben, many children get their artificial limbs so young they don't know anything different other than having a prosthesis.
“The day we got it, we put it on him, and he was all over the place. He was ready to start walking,” said Sarah.
Ben got his first prosthetic leg in August and is unstoppable.
He can do anything: play sports, chase his sister, and even battle the Stormtroopers who were in the kitchen enjoying banana bread, that is, if they don't lure him to the dark side first.
"Our mission today is to meet Mr. Ben. We hope to recruit him one day. He's a tough little guy, and it was a great inspiring moment to meet him and his family,” says Dino Ignacio, Storm Trooper, TK 82774.
The Garrison Titan group is made up of volunteers, and aside from visiting Ben, they make personal appearances raising money for several charities.
This year alone they've raised $75,000 for Seattle Children's.
Seattle Children’s is also providing a Limb Differences Clinic to connect families to other children with limb differences.