Just minutes after they met their newborn son in 2001, Tina and Mike McCasland were told to prepare themselves for the worst.
“[The doctor] basically told me, ‘Say goodbye to your son. He’s not going to make it through the day. He’s got an incurable disease, and that’s it,'” Mike recalled. Their baby boy, Cody, was born prematurely with a rare birth defect called sacral agenesis. He wasn’t breathing on his own, and his legs had formed without tibias or knees.
But the tough little boy proved doctors wrong… over and over again. Not only did he survive his first day of life, but he eventually got to go home with his parents.
He grew stronger in the following months and made it through a double leg amputation at just over a year old. Tina and Mike celebrated another milestone when Cody began walking with his first prosthesis on his second of physical therapy.
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Since then, Cody has continued to astound everyone around him. He faces every challenge with a bright, happy smile, and doesn’t seem to know what the word “can’t” means. In fact, from a young age, he took up racing — thanks to the incredible help and generosity of Dallas’ Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, which provides him with expensive prosthetics, including carbon-fiber-reinforced blades, at no cost to his family.
But Cody has always been one to give back. He acts as spokesman for the hospital by sharing his story and even visits injured service members in the hospital to give them renewed hope and a more positive outlook regarding their futures.
The little boy has been making headlines since he was six years old, even appearing on”Dateline,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to share his love of running, swimming, handcycling, and chatting it up with as many people as he can.
“Cody has really done everything that they said he wouldn’t do,” Mike said. “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 chord; yet, he just goes on forever.”
Now, at almost 18 years old, Cody continues to defy the odds while his dreams reach even further. He is a spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, competes in various athletic events around the country, and hopes to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics for swimming. And, after undergoing over two dozen surgeries in his life, he wants to become an anesthesiologist.
“I want to be working at the hospital, in the operating room,” he explained. “I want to help people feel better.”
“Some people might say I have a disability,” Cody said. “But really, I have an ability.”
It’s no wonder Cody was named a DFW Superstar in 2018. Anyone looking for inspiration need look no further than this young man who’s overcome so much while never allowing anything to hold him back.
Learn more about Cody’s amazing spirit in the video below, and share his story to inspire others!
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