Cody also dreams of walking in the opening Olympic ceremonies—but as a star athlete. It’s an ambitious goal for a 6-year-old who wasn’t expected to live past his first day, but Cody is used to defying the odds.
When Cody was born, his parents, Tina and Mike, immediately knew something wasn’t right. “The doctors got very quiet. The nurses got very quiet,” Mike says. “I did notice that his legs looked different—they didn’t straighten out.” Mike was told their baby boy had an incurable disease and wouldn’t make it through the day. “That’s when Mike had told me that we needed to mourn the loss of our son,” Tina says.
Miraculously, Cody survived, but he still had a difficult journey ahead. When he was just 15 months old, both of Cody’s legs needed to be amputated. “He was fitted with his first prosthesis when he was 18 months old,” Tina says. “They did not think that he was going to walk in his first prosthetics right away, and on his second day, I think, or first day of therapy, he started walking.”
Those weren’t the only expectations Cody surpassed. “Cody has really done everything that they said he wouldn’t do,” Mike says. “He wasn’t supposed to be able to walk. Well, he walks—he runs. He wasn’t supposed to be able to talk, [because] he only has one vocal cord. He just goes on forever.”
Cody’s love for running gave his parents the idea to put a team together to raise money for the hospital that gave him his prosthetic legs. “These are my running legs, and I run very fast in them and I bounce in them,” Cody says. “Since I have different legs, I can do anything.”
Cody truly can do whatever he sets his mind to—and now that he’s on a swim team, a certain Olympic superstar better watch out! “Michael Phelps, I’m coming,” Cody says. “I’m gonna race you!”
Other than his athletic abilities, there is one thing Cody wants the world to know. “That I’m special,” he says.
Tina says her son has always had the drive to exceed expectations, and she and her husband, Mike, are right there to encourage Cody whenever he needs a boost. “When he says, ‘I can’t,’ we say, ‘That’s not a word allowed in this household,'” she says. “We find a way for him to do it. It might be different than someone else, but we work together and we get through it.”
Mike says Cody’s spirit is contagious to everyone he meets. “He’s always had that about him,” he says. “He just walks into a room and absolutely takes over somehow with his personality.” Cody even brightens the day of the disabled veterans he’s met with who have lost their limbs. “He’s never had his limbs, and he’s just smiling, bouncing through the room, and just wants to race everybody.”