Stories about: Orthopedic Trauma Program

‘There’s always something that can be done’: Finding hope for Caden

lead image Caden Grimm Thriving

“I want the best quality of life for my son — what any parent would want for their child,” says Michelle, mom to 12-year old Caden.

Caden has spent almost half his life struggling to keep up with his peers after a lawnmower accident badly injured his leg at the age of six. The injury disrupted his growth plate, and was having a significant effect on his growing limb, leading him to have knock-kneed alignment in his right leg. The condition was keeping him from fully experiencing the activities a boy his age normally enjoys; from playing baseball and basketball to walking the amusement park with his family.

A growth plate is the area of growing tissue at each end of the long bones in children (such as the femur, tibia and humerus). These plates are where the bone gets longer as one grows.

“It bothered his dad and I, to see him unable to keep up — and it really bothered him,” Michelle, recalls. “One day, Caden came to me and said, ‘Mom, can you help me?’ and I told him, ‘I will do everything in my power to help you.’”

That’s when Michelle began doing research, spending over a month trying to find the best orthopedic surgeon in the country to help correct Caden’s growing leg.

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Matt’s story: No obstacles

amputeeWhen Matt Freitas walked into TA Fitness, a warrior gym in Weymouth, Massachusetts, with his mother and a doctor’s note, co-owner Dave Cavanagh wasn’t sure what to expect. Then he thought, “If he’s coming into the gym with one leg, he must know what he can and can’t do.”

It’s seems as if the 15-year-old ninja warrior competitor and lacrosse goalie can do just about anything. He’s a straight-A student, Boy Scout, wrestler and local celebrity.

“Everyone knows Matt,” says Jenny Lawler, co-owner of TA Fitness. “I’ve seen younger kids whisper to their parents, ‘Is that Matt Freitas?’”

Last year, Matt, who loves the television series “American Ninja Warrior,” persuaded a friend to accompany him to the gym. The friend never returned. Matt works out there as often as he can fit into his jam-packed schedule. He’s joined the staff and often helps out with kids’ parties on weekends.

It is hard to miss Matt’s lanky 6’2” frame, easy grin and quirky sense of humor. Most of all, there’s the quiet determination that comes from facing an obstacle far tougher than any he’ll encounter on a warrior course.

One month before his 12th birthday, Matt was involved in a head-on car crash in Maine. His right foot was trapped under the front passenger seat and nearly severed. He was rushed to Maine Medical Center and underwent a below-the-knee amputation.

Matt’s parents Melissa and Scott lobbied to have their son transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital. “We were very happy with the care Matt received at Maine Medical, but we wanted Matt at Boston Children’s not only because it was closer to home, but also because it’s Boston Children’s. When he was transferred one week after the accident, it was a gift.”

Seventy visitors flooded Matt’s room the weekend he was transferred. While Matt welcomed the company, he set his sights on other priorities.

He wanted to get back to the lacrosse field.

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