DENVER (CBS4) – Clayton Simon is a 6-year-old boy who loves to play baseball, sled hockey, soccer and racing with his sister. He does all this despite being born with a congenital condition that led to the loss of his leg above his right knee at birth.
All that changed on Saturday afternoon as Clayton was given a special running prosthetic leg through a grant from the Challenged Athletes Foundation.READ MORE: Colorado Lawmakers Consider Auditing State’s COVID Testing Program: 'It’s Not Fair 1,100 Nursing Home Patients Died'
“We’re so excited for Clay,” said his father, Steve Simon. “I might have gotten a little emotional seeing it and just super excited just knowing what was ahead on him now.”
Clayton’s parents were excited to see their son in a running leg for another reason, as the prosthetic is expensive.
“A normal walking prosthetic is covered by insurance, but a running prosthetic is considered a luxury item. So, those things are covered by insurance and can cost up to $15,000 or $20,000 per foot,” said Lauren Ram, Programs Coordinator at the Challenged Athletes foundation.
Clayton was given the running leg at the Ossur and Challenged Athletes Foundation running and mobility clinic at the University of Denver. More than 40 amputees participated in the event, including Team USA’s para-triathletes Jamie Brown and Eric McElvenny. Brown gave Clayton several tips on how to use the new running leg.READ MORE: Ptarmigan Fire: Hundreds Remain Evacuated Morning After Wildfire Started Near Homes In Summit County
“I told him to use his leg. Like, he had to activate that prosthetic,” Brown said. “It’s just the way that he has to walk with his walking leg. So, the second he has this spring on, the spring is now going to propel him forward, so he has to make sure he gets that spring up front.”
Brown and McElvenny will represent the United States at the Paralympic Games being held Aug. 24 through Sept. 5 in Tokyo, Japan. They hope to see Clayton walking in their footsteps.
“I hope Clayton stays active, healthy, in whatever activities he ends up pursuing and if that’s the Olympics, that’s the cherry on top,” Brown said.
Before Clayton can achieve his Olympic dreams, he first had to get past his big sister.
“We got backyard soccer, and he’s going to be able to keep up with his little sister now,” Simon said.MORE NEWS: Denver Weather: Tuesday Is Our Final Warm Day, Cool And Wet Weather Is Coming
The Challenged Athletes Foundation Grant is open for new applications on Sept. 1.