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Abid Khan. (Special to the American Press)

Abid Khan. (Special to the American Press)

Lake Area 11-year-old no stranger to beating the odds

Last Modified: Monday, December 24, 2012 4:31 PM

By Nichole Osinski / American Press

When Abid Khan was first born, doctors said he would never walk.

Eleven years, a second-degree black belt certification and a scuba license later, he has proved them wrong.

Abid, a lanky 11-year-old, was born with a crippled foot and hands not fully developed, making it impossible to grab or pick up anything. Three of his fingers were missing.

At 3 months old, he underwent surgery to separate his fingers and correct his twisted foot. And while watching their child go through this process was hard for his parents, they would face an even more difficult situation when Abid suddenly became feverish. He reached a temperature of 114 degrees, causing his parents to think he would die or face brain damage. After several weeks in the hospital Abid miraculously survived and was released fully healthy.

“They kept him in the hospital for a month and ran tests to see what caused the fever and how he could have survived,” Abid’s father, Fayaz Khan, said. “The doctors thought it must have been a fever. As a parent, I’m grateful to God.”

Even after this rough start, Abid began making rapid progress, eventually using his hands and walking at the age of 15 months. He went through eight other surgeries and skin was grafted from his leg three times to use on his foot and hands.

After starting school at St. John Elementary School, Abid faced bullying from other students who made fun of his birth defect. His mother and father began looking for ways to get him through this difficult time. They found it in martial arts.

“He went through a lot from the time he was born,” Abid’s mother, Bibi Khan, said. “He was kind of upset after coming home from school so I told him ‘Don’t worry;’ I used to let him watch the “Walker, Texas Ranger” show and from that he picked it up a little bit.”

A karate demonstration at his school also prompted Abid to enroll in karate and taekwondo classes in 2007. Abid said he was curious to see if he would like martial arts and soon he moved up in his classes. Three years after starting classes, he earned his first-degree black belt in taekwondo. He has since progressed to a second-degree black belt and has started giving lessons to students in the lower levels.

“When I first moved here I used to be a little down because they would do stuff at school where you have to use your hands and I wasn’t able to do it,” Abid said. “But little by little over the years, being in taekwondo and stuff and breaking all those boards, it built up my confidence.”

As Abid became more involved with his sports and his confidence grew students at school starting taking notice. The bullying stopped; instead there was a sense of respect for their classmate, Fayaz Khan said.

Abid said his disability doesn’t affect his performance when he does sports but has actually helped push himself harder with new challenges. For example, when he turned 10 he decided to get his scuba diving license and is now the youngest certified diver in the state.

He has also started playing basketball and recently graduated from the Jr. Deputy Program at the sheriff’s office, where his father works.

“When he comes home, he’s not sad anymore; he’s happy. He enjoys his day and this makes me happy,” Fayaz Khan said. “It’s important to keep children involved (in activities).”

Abid’s last surgery was in 2005 and once a year he gets a check up to see if the bones will continue to grow. Eventually, he may need more surgery. But in the meantime he is busy trying to find ways to help others. He does fundraisers to help children in the hospital and wants to start a martial arts school with his father. They want to make it a not-for-profit to teach children who cannot afford to play sports and need to build their self esteem.

“I just like helping; I know that people have helped me so I like to give back to them,” Abid said. “A lot of people say I can’t do this or I can’t do that and I just can’t let them put me down.”

Posted By: Christian On: 5/15/2013


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