Katie Whiddon was just 19 when she was pregnant with her first child—and she was definitely not prepared for what came next.
When she was 18-weeks pregnant, she went to the doctor for an ultrasound and learned a shocking truth: Her little boy had developed a rare disorder called amelia-phocomelia and didn’t have any arms or legs.
Five months later, Camden Whiddon was brought into the world, but his 19-year-old mother doubted her ability to take care of him.
“When I first found out he wouldn’t have arms or legs, I thought that he would just be a vegetable … I didn’t know what to expect,” she told People. “I had just turned 19, and I didn’t know, ‘Am I gonna be able to be good enough for him?’”
Still, Whiddon tried her absolute hardest to take good care of him. Slowly but surely, Camden started making progress.
“When he was around 2 months old, I had him laying on my bed,” Whiddon explained. “I saw him out the corner of my eye, and he was hitting the toys with his arms. I started to cry, I was just so happy, and that confirmed that he was gonna be able to do things.”
This was the first of many “things” Camden learned to do. He soon learned how to lift his head, roll over, throw toys, and talk. These were all huge leaps forward for Camden—but his mother still was not sure he would ever be able to walk.
However, that was then. This is now.
Earlier this month, the 4-year-old boy started sliding across the floor of Whiddon’s apartment in Denton, Texas. Whiddon’s boyfriend, Cole Greene, was there to guide Camden over to him while Whiddon captured the event on camera. The video has since been posted to Facebook.
As Camden scooches across the floor in his adorable white-and-red striped onesie, his dad tells him “You’re doing it. You’re sitting up all by yourself. You’re not falling.”
Camden replies, “I’m coming to you! I’m walking!”
Meanwhile, Camden’s little sister, Ryleigh, 3, watches in awe. When, Camden gets close enough to safely fall into his daddy’s arms, Ryleigh starts jumping up and down.
Camden also shouts, “I’m walking like Nick!” in reference to Nick Vujicic, an inspirational speaker also born with amelia-phocomelia. Camden’s family listens to speakers like Vujicic regularly, and Whiddon believes her son could have a future in public speaking.
“Call it mother’s intuition, but I feel like he’s gonna be one of those motivational speakers,” Whiddon said. “Giving him the exposure will give him a platform, so when he’s ready to speak for himself he will have people who actually want to listen to him and care about what he has to say.”
He certainly has had plenty of exposure in the past week or so. Whiddon’s original Facebook post has gained over 64,000 views, with over 3,000 reactions and 800 shares. Whiddon is glad that her son’s story is being shared with a large audience—but nothing compares to the joy she feels for her son’s accomplishment.
“We started crying, we were so proud,” the 23-year-old mother explained. “I didn’t know when that day would come. I didn’t think he was ready for it yet, and I was just so shocked and happy.”
They say that a journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step, and now that Camden has taken those first few, the world has opened up to him. He’s got a long way to go, but with the support of family and friends, he should get there just fine.