Ellie May Challis born in Essex, England in 2004, was just 16 months old, when struck down with a near-fatal case of meningitis. She survived, but the severe effect of the deadly septicemia bacteria caused both her arms and legs to be amputated.
Originally fitted with standard prosthetic legs, Ellie had a difficult time keeping up with her siblings (twin sister, Sophie and older siblings: Tai-la, 9 and Connor, 11) and other children her age.
Ellie’s community falling in love with the little girl, raised enough money for new carbon-fiber Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetic legs, same as those used by Paralympic sprinter, Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius. This makes Ellie the youngest person ever to have carbon fiber prosthetic legs. On the first day of her school, Ellie walked on her own in her new carbon-fiber Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetic legs.
The lightweight carbon-fiber being extremely strong, has advantages over fiberglass or Kevlar. However, it has a disadvantage too. When bent to a great extent, carbon-fiber can break. The engineers of prosthetic limbs have been working on this issue for some time.
Though Ellie loves her new limbs, they must be replaced every two years as she continues to grow. The director at Dorset Orthopaedic who custom made her legs said: “We were worried that she wouldn’t be able to balance properly on them, but she has made amazing progress. Within seconds of having them on, she was off. It will change her life.”
Ellie’s father extremely pleased with the results said: “Ellie can walk twice as fast on these new legs. She is so full of determination.”
Here’s a video of Ellie learning to walk using the new carbon fiber legs:
A few months ago, Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius known as the “Blade Runner” and “the fastest man with no legs” met the chirpy 8-year-old Ellie May Challis. They decided to challenge each other to a few races. Pistorius seemed to have underestimated Ellie. Just mere weeks after learning to walk with her new carbon fiber prosthetic legs, Ellie beat Pistorius in all four of their 15-meter races!
- Ellie May Challis vs Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius (tvaraj.wordpress.com)
- Esther Vergeer – the world’s greatest Wheelchair Tennis player (tvaraj.wordpress.com)