Rare surgery restores Mentor boy’s ability to walk again

MENTOR- From creating puzzles, to Peanuts cartoons to his obsession with cars, Liam Waldron of Mentor is a very intelligent 8-year old with a lot of spunk.

But just four years ago, his health would take a turn for the worse.

His mom, Wendy Waldron said, "We went to go see family in New Jersey, came back and he had been complaining a little bit about his leg hurting."

"I felt like I had growing pains and for thousands of nights and one night I couldn't fall asleep,” said Liam.

Turns out, Liam was suffering from a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer in his left leg, called osteosarcoma.

Liam says,"I saw my mom crying and I was like well, well what is that? And my mom told me that you're kinda very sick."

"Your world comes crashing down around you. You're trying to process it and just want to be sure that they're taken care of,” said Wendy.

After successfully undergoing ten weeks of chemotherapy, Cleveland Clinic surgeon Dr. Michael Joyce says traces of cancer remained.

To give Liam the best chance at running and jumping again, doctors suggested a surgery that is extremely unusual, called rotationplasty.

A 3D illustration showing how doctors amputated a portion of Liam’s thigh, took park of his lower leg, rotated it backwards and reattached it to the thigh.

His ankle now becoming his new knee.

Rotationplasty is rarely performed in the United States. In fact, fewer than 10-procedures are done annually.

Dr. Joyce says, "We saved the artery in the vein. We saved the nerves, and then we bring up the tibia after the resection to the upper part of the femur, rotate things 180 degrees, and anchor it with a plate."

Liam’s surgery was followed by more chemo and in January, a specially designed prosthetic leg was made just for him…bearing the weight of his rotated foot.

Physical therapy sessions allow Liam to continue to build strength.

His physical therapist Raquel Griffis says, "He's gone from using a walker and hopping in it, to being able to walk without the walker." …and Liam continues to get stronger everyday with his cancer now in remission.

His future? Limitless.

Liam said," That's what I dreamed about. It feels like the bestest thing to be able to run around. "It feels like destiny, what's another way to describe that. I don't know."