Valley Boys Swim of a Lifetime

August 9, 2008 1:12:52 PM PDT
A south valley boy with no hands and only one foot took the swim of a lifetime.Several months ago, six students from Burton Middle School in Porterville made a prosthetic hand for 9-year old Matthew Lane so he could write. Now they've helped make a prosthetic foot for him so he can swim.

Burton Middle School students take a look at the finished prosthetic leg they helped make for 9-year old Matthew Lane. The "Pirates of the Caribbean"-themed limb comes with a plastic foot that allows Matthew to not only run but also swim around in.

Matthew Lane: "I can still swim, I know how to swim but it's hard to kick my feet because with my feet I can't go that fast so I just um ... swim doggy paddle

The students helped make the new prosthetic foot after learning Matthew wanted to be able to swim as well as his friends. The new foot is made of rubber and is pretty durable. The students raised more than $14-hundred dollars and came to Hanger Prosthetics in Visalia to make it happen.

Matthew Jones, student: "Then we kinda like shaped it into a leg added in all the configurations that a normal person would have as a leg like a ankle and toes, stuff like that."

John Wettstein helped the students create the new limb.

John Wettstein, Hanger Prosthetics: "For me it's been a lot of fun something a lot different than my normal type of work and seeing these kids be interested and helping out Matthew has just been a really pleasure.

What better place for him to try out his new swimming foot than at a pool? Just hours after getting his new prosthetic, Matthew took it for a test swim.

Hoss McNutt, Robotics Teacher: "It's been great first of all he gets to swim but what's happened to my kids is just tremendous."

And the students want to do even more for Matthew, who now wants a swimming flipper.

Hoss McNutt: "Because the foot is in a fixed position on his new leg and he can't point his toe so we're gonna see if we can come up with a swim fin so the kids have some more engineering to do."

While the kids have more work to do, Matthew says it's now easier to kick his legs in the water.

Matthew now has a new foot, new friends, a new way of life.

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