Lafayette, LA – June 11, 2019 – Like many 7-year-old little boys, Adam Luke is energetic, outgoing, and ambitious. He enjoys being active and playing outside with his friends and siblings. And he just so happens to have a story that has already inspired thousands. Now, Adam is beginning the next chapter of his inspiring story after being named the newest and youngest co-captain for TeamUP, the first and only national team composed of athletes and every day heroes who live with Foot Drop Paralysis.
Adam has a form of Spina Bifida called myelomeningocele, which occurs when the spinal cord and nerves develop in a fluid-filled sac outside of the body. To give him the best chance at an active life, his mother Kellie traveled to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when she was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo fetal surgery to close the opening on his spine.
To keep friends and family updated on the surgery and then, once he was born, Adam’s condition and progress, Kellie created a Facebook page called Adam’s Ambitions. As the first people from their community to undergo this type of procedure, Luke’s story quickly gained a following. Two years after Adam’s birth, the mission of the Adam’s Ambitions page officially shifted to a platform and resource to educate people on his condition as well as inspire hope for other individuals and families facing a similar uncertainty.
“Whenever someone who has a similar story to ours reaches out through Facebook and gets to know Adam and sees that he is a regular, happy little boy, it gives them hope in the face of this doom and gloom they may have about the future of their unborn child’s health,” Kellie says. “That has been priceless for us.”
Because of the issues surrounding the development of his spinal cord and nerves, Adam’s condition has resulted in the onset of Foot Drop, a form of paralysis that affects the foot and ankle and hinders his ability to be independently mobile. However, his orthotics have helped him take huge strides over the years. After being fitted with Allard KiddieGAIT® braces, Adam finally gained complete independence and stability when walking around. They have even recently helped him accomplish a personal goal of running nearly one mile on the track at school without his crutches.
“Back in 2011 when we received Adam’s diagnosis, I wish there had been someone there to tell me it would be OK and that my baby would be amazing!” Kellie said. “So now, we work hard to connect with newly diagnosed families so we can be that voice of hope for them. We hope that by working with TeamUP we can raise even more awareness about the available technology providing mobility for people with Spina Bifida.”
TeamUP co-captains support the “Get Back UP Today” movement, which is designed to inspire mobility-challenged individuals to reach goals they may have thought impossible. As a co-captain, Adam can continue to raise awareness of Spina Bifida as well as shed light on the many types of people who are diagnosed with Foot Drop. He will also work to eliminate certain misconceptions surrounding his condition and demonstrate that his Spina Bifida will not stop him from living an active life.
“We are so excited to have Adam join TeamUP. Not only does he exemplify our mission through his perseverance and positive outlook on life, but his story opens a new dialogue about the diversity of people who are living with Foot Drop,” TeamUP founder and fellow co-captain Beth Deloria said.
To learn more about Adam’s inspiring story and meet his fellow team members who are working with each other and others like them to spread the message of Get Back UP Today, go to the links below: