Olivia Kalindjian had to find alternative ways to get around. At 1, she crawled and scooted while other toddlers learned to walk. And during years of corrective surgeries aimed at fixing the severely underdeveloped tibias she was born with, there were stints with braces and walkers.
But on Saturday, supported by nothing more than her two legs, the 8-year-old took to the streets in Montrose for the first Armenian Sisters’ Academy walkathon, a fundraiser meant to offset tuition costs for needy students.
“Every time we see her we are amazed at her progress,” said Armine Sherikian, an administrative assistant at Armenian Sisters’ Academy, a small private school on Florencita Drive.
The 4-mile walk was a milestone for Olivia and for her family, who had been told by doctors that amputation was the solution, but who refused to abandon their dreams of seeing her walk.
Born at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, Olivia was the fourth of quadruplets conceived after her parents’ long struggle with infertility. It was immediately apparent that something was wrong with her lower legs and feet, which were pointed inward, but the family hoped it was something that could be fixed.