4-Year-Old Amputee’s Leg Stolen from Beach, But Then…


*My faith in humanity was both challenged and restored in the space of a couple of days, with this story.

4-year-old Liam Brenes battles a genetic condition called Facto Syndrome.  As a result of it, he had to have one of his legs amputated below the knee when he was just 1 year old.

One of my best friends growing up had a prosthetic leg, so this story really touched me.

Liam manages today with his second prosthetic leg, the first of which he outgrew.  Last weekend, he and his family took his first-ever trip to the beach.  Liam’s father, Frank, said Liam’s afraid of the water, and that it had been the first time they’d been to the ocean.

The family brought Liam’s older, shorter prosthetic leg with them, so he could use it in the water without fear of damaging the new one.    After arriving at the beach, eager Liam waded into the ocean.

What happened next is almost unfathomable to me.

While Liam and his parents played in the ocean, someone stole the child’s prosthetic leg along with the bag that lay under it, which included the family’s clothes, Liam’s brother’s glasses, and a camera. Liam’s prosthetic leg had been placed on top of the bag, in plain sight.

Brenes said Liam was in good spirits after they discovered the theft.  “It’s OK, Daddy,” he said.  “I put something really important on my Christmas list.  I can ask Santa for a new leg.”

I almost went into Oprah’s ugly cry on that one.  The baby will ask Santa for a new leg.  

I try not to judge.  I really do.  But I think there’s a special place in Hell for someone who’d steal a kid’s prosthetic leg.

Liam’s dad, along with park rangers, searched the trash cans, bushes, and the surrounding beach.  No bag, no glasses, or clothes…and no leg.

“To also take a child’s leg and eye glasses is simply devastating to these boys and their family,” said Ann-Marie Brasil, a family friend.

But here’s where the tragic story takes a great turn:

Brasil set up a GoFundMe account for the family.  As of this posting, over $12,000 has been raised for replacement of the leg and glasses.  Additionally, an anonymous donor has come forward to replace the leg outright.  Liam’s family will use some of the GoFundMe dollars to send Liam to a camp for differently-abled children and will donate the rest to Shriner’s Hospital, where Liam has been a patient.  

I’ve always been convinced that good people always come through in a pinch, and this story’s an example of that.

Hat’s off to Brasil, the anonymous donor, and all the best to Liam and his family!


This blog was written by freelancer Michael P Coleman.  Follow him on Twitter.


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