Life can be challenging when your child is just that little bit different. Mornington Peninsula residents Lauren Christie and her husband Craig know what it’s like to make multiple trips to the Royal Children’s Hospital with two small children in tow and repeatedly strap on your small son’s ‘boots and bar’ before he goes to sleep.
Lauren’s book, Leroy’s Boots, was first published in 2015, then re-published in October last year with additions. It tells of her family’s journey from club foot diagnosis to what life looks like for Leroy today. It’s not a sad book; in fact, it is an uplifting tale about what happens when you are loved and supported and how a little boy’s unbreakable spirit wins the day. She explains: “We were first told about Leroy’s club foot at our routine 20-week scan, but we didn’t tell anyone about it. Our first appointment at the Royal Children’s Hospital was when he was five days old and casting his right foot began on that day. It went from his right foot right up to his groin. We went into the hospital every week to change the cast for seven weeks. That’s how we began family life with our new addition.”
Leroy is just shy of seven now and has had multiple castings, multiple surgeries and plenty of nights when he didn’t want to strap those boots on. He’s also had a life of multiple physio visits and relapses, but one thing is clear: this young man has become a resilient and free-flowing individual who has travelled this club foot road with dignity, humour and determination. Lauren continues: “The whole process has shaped his personality. He just gets up and does everything he wants to. He plays basketball, rides a bike and runs with his cast on. Nothing stops him, even the pain. He’s always keeping up with his older brother, Jack. He completed the Dromana Primary Fun Run in his plaster cast. He did the first lap with me pushing him in the wheelchair and then told me he wanted to run. So he got up and ran. His diagnosis doesn’t define him, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard.”
Leroy’s Boots can be found in numerous schools or you can go to www.leroysboots.com to get a copy. It’s also catalogued at the National Library of Australia. Profits have been donated to Aussie Clubfoot Kids, Miracle Feet and the RCH. Find yourself a copy to read about a small boy with big dreams and a club foot that won’t slow him down. This is a celebration of being different yet the same, one’s spirit and the power of love.