A Cornish teenager, who lost a leg at the age of six weeks due to a rare bone disease, aspires to teach sailing after winning an award in the sport.
Bradley Pedrick, 13, from the St Austell area, was born with pseudarthrosis in his shin – a rare affliction that meant he was indeed born with a broken leg.
The condition, mom Cheryl Collings said, also meant the leg didn’t heal like normal bone, which led to a “long road” of surgeries early in Bradley’s life.
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Cheryl spoke about the struggles Bradley has faced and overcome, and how much he has achieved despite it all.
“The surgeries he had,” Cheryl said, “With his condition, the leg would have been too fragile to do normal activities.
“It’s not good enough for a boy, they want to climb trees and play football.”
The decision to amputate his leg when Bradley was three at Bristol Children’s Hospital, his mother said, was “heartbreaking” – and meant he couldn’t walk at all for 12 weeks.
Having only managed to walk for the first time at the age of two, it was a blow to Bradley.
But with that first prosthetic leg, Cheryl said, he did his longest walk ever and things got better from there.
Cheryl continued, “He’s had two revision surgeries since, sometimes it grows a little shredded with the bone.
“He’s also had two unrelated kidney surgeries. He’s been through a lot, bless him.”
Bradley had 15 prosthetic legs in less than so many years of his life.
The teenager proudly posed next to a line of legs, in the order he had them, from his first to three years old to the black and yellow patterned prosthesis he currently wears.
Almost as soon as he had his first leg tied, Bradley was active.
“As soon as he got the leg he was gone,” Cheryl said.
“Climb trees, cycle and of course sail.
“Everything, more than an average child would. It was a really tough time, but it made me realize it was the right decision.”
Bradley began to sail in particular, having started in school, sailing close to his home in St Austell every week.
Having started in fifth grade at the school, the amputee even won a sailing competition in 2019, hosted by the RNLI, and was nominated for an award for coming through her tough times.
Speaking of the legs themselves, Cheryl said the photos of Bradley posing with his collection were a sweet reminder of his changes in taste, as he had to choose the patterns.
Starting with the very first ones, the oldest legs look more like braces than what we call prosthetics.
Those early ones, Cheryl said, weren’t as advanced as they are now – and weren’t stretchy.
The patterns changed to blue with a soccer ball on the side, red, again blue – but this time with featured fish – then again blue, green, skull, military camouflage, and finally to his current leg – a black background and yellow claw marks.
His favorite leg, Cheryl said, was either the pirate-themed one or his current leg – which has a titanium bar fitted so it could stretch out as he grows older.
For the future, despite his complications, Bradley wants to lead a very active life.
Cheryl said he hopes to take his passion for sailing further and become an instructor, as well as a day’s training to become a police officer.
“You wouldn’t even know he has a prosthetic leg,” Cheryl added.
“From the start, he never let him beat him.
“I always let him grow up with the ‘if you wanna do something, do it’ attitude.
“He’s been bullied a bit in school, but he’s got this mindset where he doesn’t let himself be bothered. He’s amazing.”
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