Mission Viejo (CBSLA.com) — The little boy, whose prosthetic leg was stolen in Orange County over the weekend, has proved thieves cannot slow him down.
Liam Brenes got his white Karate belt Tuesday – two days after a thief stole his artificial limb that was left on the beach while he and his family went to explore tide pools at Crystal Cove State Beach on Sunday.
The 4-year-old was determined to earn his belt first even if it meant kicking with his older, shorter prosthesis.
“Today, we were going to go look at getting his leg done, and he was devastated. His face just was so sad, and he refused,” said the boy’s mother, Amanda McFarland. “He was begging: ‘Please let me go to Karate. Please let me go get the belt.'”
“He’s a true martial artist,” said Luis Auza of United Studios of Defense in Mission Viejo. “No matter what happens. Belt comes first. Let’s do that now.”
With the help of some CBS2/KCAL9 viewers, several prosthetics companies, including one in Palmdale, offered to make Liam an artificial limb free of charge.
After getting his belt, Liam and his family headed to Essential Orthotics and Prosthetics in Palmdale, where he was fitted for a new leg.
“My job is to protect my child, and I feel like I failed,” Liam’s father, Frank Brenes, said as he fought back tears. “All the kindness and everything that people have reached out to do. Thank you. It’s definitely helping me adjust with that.”
Donations have also poured in, funds his mother says will be used to send Liam to a special kids camp for amputees. She says they plan on donating the rest to organizations that make prosthetics.