iBOT Personal Mobility Device
As written by his paternal grandparents.
Oliver was born on January 18, 2015. His mother, Leah, discovered there were problems during the anatomy scan at 23 weeks with his feet and possibly his arms and hands. When he finally arrived, he was diagnosed with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. This congenital condition can affect any joint in the body, causing contractions in the joints and muscular atrophy. Oliver’s hips, knees, ankles, feet, left arm, left hand, and right hand were affected.
At ten days old, Oliver’s legs were cast weekly to attempt to straighten his legs and bring his feet into a plantar position suitable for walking. After ten weeks of casting, thermoplastic ankle orthotic braces were made to keep his feet and legs in the position desired.
He has been blessed to have been accepted by Shriners of Philadelphia for his most recent surgeries. Over the past seven years, Oliver has undergone about six significant surgeries to rotate his femur and patella, put his feet in a plantar position suitable to walk and move his knees and thighs into the correct position for ambulation. Recovery from surgery was painful, but we felt it necessary. The surgery helped but brought additional pain and suffering.
Oliver has learned to walk since his last surgery in October of 2022. First, with thigh-to-toe walking braces, assistive devices, and now just the walking braces. His right leg is significantly shorter than his left and requires a substantial lift on his shoe. He loves to walk and dance but fatigues easily and quickly. Wheelchairs become obstacles for his adventurous personality. His left arm prevents him from efficiently self-propelling a manual chair. Steps, uneven terrain, and short distances prevent him from experiencing everything an 8-year-old boy should.
We encourage and provide everything we can for Oliver to be a “normal” 8-year-old boy. We have tried to adapt tricycles and other contraptions to encourage him to participate in activities but have not succeeded. Swimming has been an excellent activity for Oliver to participate as an equal to his peers. Unfortunately, that is only a small portion of time. We are always searching for something that would provide Oliver the freedom he desires and needs to grow and experience life as he should.
We’ve often been caught trying to push a wheelchair over uneven surfaces, carrying him and the chair up and down steps, renting special chairs to take him to the beach, and, at times, just unable to do the things and go the places he wanted to go. We were trying to push his chair through the grass at a Franklin, TN, Festival when we saw a man in a chair on two wheels rolling along like he was rolling down the street. We were so amazed at what we saw that we had to stop and ask what in the world this chair was! That is when we met Gary and Mari Linfoot, who graciously shared information about the IBOT wheelchair and their foundation, American Mobility Project.
We teach Oliver to help those in need and develop a solid moral compass. Day to day, it can be something like buying a homeless person a meal. If Oliver becomes a recipient, we would be delighted to be ambassadors for The American Mobility Project and participate in fundraising in any way we could. Even if he doesn’t receive the chair, it has been amazing to learn about the American Mobility Project, and he will continue to spread the word and participate in paying it forward.
Oliver’s mother, Leah, passed away in 2019, and he is being raised by his dad, Ellison, and both sets of his grandparents, whom he refers to as BB and Pepere and Lammy and Baboo.
Additional words from AMP
Oliver has been awarded an iBOT from American Mobility Project.
We know he will get so much joy and go on many adventures with his new mobility device. When Oliver came out to the Linfoot home to try the iBOT demo unit, he was testing its limits like a professional in no time. We should expect that from an eight-year-old active boy who said recess is his favorite class at school.
Thank you to all who have made this iBOT a reality for Oliver and his family. 💙