Jace's Journey: An infant overcomes rare birth defect

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DURANT, OK -- A local baby boy undergoes surgery due to a rare birth defect that will eventually help him walk.

9-month old Jace Cater was born with Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency, an extremely rare birth defect that prevented his femur and knee from forming correctly.

Doctors told his mother Brittany Hopkins, during her pregnancy, Jace would need surgery to amputate his foot, if he were to ever have a chance at walking.

"When they first told me it had to be done; I wasn't going to have it," said Hopkins.

Brittany and Jace's father, Seth Cater, traveled to Shriners Hospital in Shreveport this week, where Jace underwent that procedure.

"The day of the surgery was the worst day of my life. I don't think I had slept for three days," said Hopkins.

Before the operation, Jace's right leg was noticeably shorter then the left, and post-surgery, his leg was wrapped in a bandage, and that's where Jace will eventually attach a prosthetic.

Doctors told Seth, Jace would need rest, and wouldn't be able to move around very much.

"They said he wouldn't be doing that cause it would be hurting him, but it don't look like it's hurting him," said Cater.

Or holding him back----In fact his parents say, he's the same happy baby he's always been.

Throughout their journey, Brittany says they've relied on help from family and friends, but they still needed help to pay for this surgery and another upcoming surgery; so the hospital stepped up to help.

"They knew we didn't have much money, so they paid the entire bill for this first surgery," said Hopkins.

Jace goes back next week for a check-up, and his second surgery is set for next month.

In the meantime, his parents say they are grateful for all the support and want other parents who may get this diagnosis to know they're not alone and that there is hope.

"He'll be just like any other kid, but he'll have a prosthetic leg," said Cater.

His family has a Facebook page called Jace's Journey where you can keep up with his progress.

If you would like to help out the family, you can visit any area Landmark Bank where he has an account set up.

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