By Becca Robbins

On July 4, two years and one month after her accident on a riding lawn mower that took her left leg, 8-year-old Chelsie Thompson made her way into the center of the Haines Stampede arena.

In the middle of the crowd gathered to watch the rodeo action, representatives from the Shriners Hospital for Children presented her with a new prosthetic leg, one she can run on.

On Monday morning, Chelsie, alongside her mother, Erin, went for a run to the haystacks on their North Powder ranch and back to their house, rolling forward onto the toes of the running blade to bend the knee and swinging it back in front of her. Although she’s still figuring out her stride, her mother said it’s all about strengthening the muscles in her lower back and glute muscles and stretching her hip flexor so that she can run just like she always loved to do.

“Kids are resilient,” said Erin. “Once she got past her fear, she just took off and went.”

After all, Chelsie has a twin brother, Cash, who’s 1 minutes younger than she is, and two older siblings, 10-year-old Cade and 12-year-old Jacee, to keep up with.

They had to learn patience with Chelsie as she figured out her new gait and how to do their favorite things, said Erin.

The day after receiving her new leg at the rodeo Erin said Chelsie wore it all day. Although Chelsie had her first fall on their Monday run when she tripped and scratched up her knee, Erin said she got up and dusted herself off.

“It’s the first of many so let’s go,” she said of her daughter’s fall.

About four months after her amputation, Chelsie received her first prosthetic leg.

She broke the knee of that leg within eight months.

“To see her go from this timid girl who didn’t want to get rid of her walker, didn’t want to go on her own, to wearing out the knee in eight to 10 months was exciting to see,” said Erin.

This new leg is her third prosthetic, which features a blade, instead of an artificial foot, with a Nike tread on the bottom to replicate a shoe. This running leg is an inch taller than her walking leg to compensate for compression the blade takes when running. Erin said this creates a learning curve for Chelsie as she figures out her balance and her stride.

See more in the July 11, 2018 issue of the Baker City Herald