LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The day Ezra was born was special for his parents.
“I just saw his face and he was the most beautiful child,” said Bahar Frech, his mother.
Then came words no parent wants to hear.
“I didn’t even realize he was missing fingers and that there was a difference in his leg until the doctor said something,” she recalled. “Within 24-hours, they said, ‘You’re going to need to amputate his leg and he’s going to have surgery on his hand.’ ”
As Ezra explains, he was born with one finger on his left hand, and a lower left leg that was curved in.
“I had surgery when I was 2 ½ years old. The doctors removed the curved part of my left leg, and they transplanted the big toe and put it onto my left hand,” he said.
The procedure lasted 15 hours because it wasn’t just the amputation.
“You’re essentially connecting nerves, veins and arteries under a microscope that are thinner than hair,” said Clayton Frech, Ezra’s father.
That’s because Ezra was born with congenital limb difference, and though life was going to be a challenge, it’s one he meets head-on each day.
“Sports is just everything to me,” said Ezra, who excels in basketball and track-and-field.
They are just a few of the sports the seventh grader plays, but it doesn’t come easy.
As he explains, he starts each day putting on a leg.
“Get out of my bed, pop my leg on. And most kids don’t really think that when I’m brushing my teeth in the morning that I am standing on one leg,” he said. “Many people don’t realize the little struggles that just happen with everyday life when you have a disability.”
When he isn’t inspiring people on the field, this tween motivates them off it as a motivational speaker.
It’s a charisma way beyond his years, and it led him to his biggest speech ever: a locker-room talk with the NBA Golden State Warriors.
“It was so amazing. Got to the practice facility. Usually, I don’t get nervous before speaking but … oh, man! I was really nervous before that one,” he said.
A lot of people worry about what they don’t have … but not Ezra. He’s only focused on what he has.
“We are all different and we all have challenges,” he said. “What makes us stronger is getting around those challenges.”