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

By 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.”