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Colton: Patient Ambassador

Colton, from West Springfield, Massachusetts, became a patient at the Springfield Shriners Hospital in 2012 when he was 3 years old. He was born with a condition known as spina bifida, specifically L2-L3 myelodysplasia, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly.

Paralyzed from the knees down, Colton receives physical therapy and visits the orthotics and prosthetics department for molding, fitting, delivery and adjustments to his orthoses. He wears bilateral solid ankle foot orthoses daily to help keep his feet positioned properly, and serve as protection since he lacks sensation in his lower legs. The team has also fabricated an isocentric reciprocating gait orthosis for Colton, which holds him in an upright position and has the ability to replicate reciprocal walking – so when one leg goes forward, the other leg will extend.

Now 11, the progress Colton has made is something that his family is grateful for and incredibly proud of. “The care at Shriners Hospital has made him stronger. He has gone from using a walker to now being able to use arm crutches,” his mother, Ashley, exclaimed.

Over the years, Colton has served as a wonderful Patient Ambassador, helping to raise funds through an annual lemonade stand, as well as awareness about Shriners Hospitals for Children by sharing his story with others. He is as outgoing as he is adorable, which has landed him some modeling and television appearances. You may have seen him on an advertisement at your local Target store or on the Kelly Clarkson Show! It is his mission to show the world the importance of representation and inclusion. He is truly making a difference, and we cannot wait to see where he goes from here!


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