Jussie Smollett Surprises 6-Year-Old Double Amputee With Wheelchair Accessible Van

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Kayden Kinckle is quite the inspiration.

The 6-year-old bilateral amputee, who has been motivating people to “do great things” with his daily Instagram videos and children’s books, got a huge surprise on Monday (Oct. 15) thanks to Jussie Smollett.

Smollett bought Kayden a brand new van complete with a wheelchair lift so that he can get to school without delay. The Empire star stepped in to help Kayden after the Englewood Public School district (where he attends school) failed to provide a proper bus to pick him up on the first day of school.

“He’s the only double amputee in Bergen County [New Jersey] where we live,” Kayden’s mom, Nicole Sessoms, told VIBE on Tuesday (Oct. 16). “They had a bus the prior two years and this year they forgot about him, [after] he switched to a new school.”

Before the van, Sessoms had been putting Kayden’s wheelchair in her small Nissan sedan to drive her son to another school where he was forced to wait for a standard school bus to pick him, once all the other students were dropped off. An aid was on hand to carry him on and off the bus, according to CBS New York. The school district blamed the mishap on a paperwork mix-up and promised to provide Kayden with a proper lift bus.

Smollett, who learned about Kayden’s story through social media, has become a family friend. He tries to spend time with Kayden whenever his schedule permits, Sessoms said.

When Smollett found out about the transportation issue, he reached out to Sessoms with a solution. “He saw what was happening with the bus and he called me and said ‘Kayden needs his own van!’”

The 35-year-old actor arranged to have the van delivered while Kayden and his family were hanging out with him in New York City.

 

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Guess who got Kayden a van with a lift??? Thank you Jussie Smollett!!!

A post shared by KaydenElijah (@kaydenkinckle) on

He may not be able to drive yet, but Kayden’s new van gives him a sense of independence. The first-grader has been overcoming obstacles and shattering expectations since he was in the womb. “That’s why the videos are so important and why I push so hard,” Sessoms said of her goal of chronicling the challenges that her son overcomes on a daily basis.

Kayden was born with omphalocele, a birth disorder that caused his bladder, liver, intestines and spleen to form outside of his body. His umbilical chord was also wrapped around his foot and legs causing both limbs to be deformed at birth. Doctors told Sessoms that Kayden would never be able to walk.

He’s not only walking on his prosthetics, Sessoms believes that he’ll be able to run one day. “They had to close his stomach up before anything else,” she recalled. “Seeing his feet and legs like that? I wasn’t worried. It’s just a big [example] of walking by faith and not by sight.”

CREDIT: Nicole Sessoms

Kayden underwent two abdominal surgeries as an infant. His right foot and left leg were amputated by the time he was a toddler. A video of him learning to walk with prosthetics went viral in 2014, but he tore his ACL a few months later. “That’s usually a sports injury with a lot of pain, he didn’t have any pain with it,” Sessoms said. “They went back in and looked at his knee and found out other problems.”

Doctors suggested surgery but warned her that he would have to undergo “multiple” surgeries after the initial procedure. “They couldn’t guarantee that his knee would be able to handle his weight, so he had a second amputation.”

The family launched a Go Fund Me page to raise money to buy  Kayden a motorized wheelchair, which is not covered by insurance. A new wheelchair will make it easier for Kayden to transition between the chair and his prosthetics, especially when he gets tired from walking (which is mother said can happen within minutes of moving a short distance.) Sessoms likes to challenge Kayden to do things like walk to his wheelchair and un-hook the seatbelt, to subtly teach him that his disability is not a limitation.

 

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A post shared by KaydenElijah (@kaydenkinckle) on

Kayden will soon undergo what Sessoms hopes will be his last surgical procedure. The surgery is necessary because Kayden’s limb was “contracted outward” following his second amputation. “If he lays on his back or on his stomach his leg isn’t flat unless he puts it that way. The surgery is to loosen the muscles.”

Kayden will be without his prosthetics for about a month-and-a-half after the surgery. He will also get a new pair of prosthetics that will be made specifically for him.

Despite what can be a hectic schedule between working and taking care of two young children, Sessoms — who is a mother of six (four adult children and two minors) — said that she’s grateful for such a large family. “I say that’s my tribe called blessed. Their help and support means everything. I really don’t know what I would do without them.”

See below for video of Kayden learning to walk after his first amputation.

 

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People keep asking was this Me! YES and I still GOT IT!! My name is Kayden !

A post shared by KaydenElijah (@kaydenkinckle) on



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