It’s a big day and a life-changing gift for a young Melrose athlete who has no intention of taking things slow.
Ryan Feeney is just 9 years old but he has already developed a love for sports beyond his years. Now, with the help of the Born to Run Foundation, he can join in on all the fun alongside his friends.
“I play mostly football and baseball, soccer and basketball,” Ryan said. His mom Jill chiming in, “basically every sport and his goal next year is to play tackle football.”
A goal that seemed just out of reach for Ryan who was born with a disease called neurofibromatosis.
As a baby, his parents decided amputation was better than a lifetime of surgeries, pain, and debilitating injury.
“It was many days of ‘are we doing the right thing, is this what we want for our child?” Jill posited.
So, from a young age, he had to learn to do everything with a prosthetic.
Back in 2017 the Make A Wish Foundation helped build a football field in Ryan’s backyard and brought Rob Gronkowski along for a game of pickup.
Now with the help of the Born to Run Foundation, he is running full speed with a blade attachment.
“A specialized prosthetic can cost anywhere from $10,000 to 50,000 and you’re just expected to pay that on your own,” Founder Noelle Lambert said.
But, with the help of community donations and a bit of practice, Ryan won’t have to worry about slowing down.
“I can’t wait until I can play and be really fast with it,” he said.
The best thing about that blade is that it is adjustable which means it will grow with him in the years to come.
Mom Jill said, “There’s no limits, which is nice.”