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Dec 7, 2012 10:10 AM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News

12-year-old Billings girl decides to have legs amputated

BILLINGS - Behind Keyara Ott's smile, is a strong little girl determined to not allow her physical limitations to get in her way.

"The things she does everyday, it just amazes me how she can compensate for what she doesn't have naturally," said her mother, Ann Ott.

Keyara, 12, has a disease that only about one in 25,000 people are born with, called Caudal Regression. It's a disorder that affects the development of the spinal cord.

"It's just a fluke," said St. Vincent Healthcare Physical Therapist Jakke Hall. "It's called Caudal Regression, so it's a form of spina bifida. Her spine quit forming. It stopped at T-12 and she has no Lumbar vertebrae, no sacrum, no tail bone, and a very small pelvic."

Keyara's legs were deformed, making it difficult for her to perform simple daily tasks like getting dressed.

So, at the age of 12 she made the decision to have her legs amputated.

"My legs were crossed, like criss-cross applesauce," Keyara explained. "I had webbing between my legs and it got bigger and it got more difficult for me to put clothes on."

"We had talked about taking the bottom of her legs off for years and it just panicked her. So, about six months ago she chose," said Hall. "I thought it was pretty amazing that somebody 12 could make that decision on their own."

Now, Keyara is attending physical therapy three times a week. With the help of Hall and several different exercise, she's learning how to walk for the first time.

"I guess it's kind of cool, because I've never walked in legs like this," Keyara said. "So, the first time I started this, it was very cool."

Keyara has many goals, some are as simple as brushing her teeth and learning to cook.

"One of the big things that she wants to be able to do is stand at the sink and brush her teeth," Ott explained. "Or to stand at the sink in the kitchen and help me do the dishes or prepare dinner."

Hall has some goals for her patient as well.

"I would like to see her be able to walk functionally in confined spaces," she said. "Around her home, in a classroom where she's up and eye-level with her peers."

Keyara hopes to be walking independently with her braces by the time she enters high school.

The 12-year-old Billings girl has already endured more in her lifetime than most people will ever have to, but Keyara doesn't necessarily see it that way.

"I'm just normal the way they are," she said. "I'm not different. I really don't like it when people stare at me because it makes me feel like I'm not normal and makes me feel like I don't belong here."

Keyara has a big heart and a tiny bit of sass that assures anyone who meets the little lady, that the world is her oyster.

"There's nothing to hold her back," Hall beamed. "She will be a productive member of society."

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