Camlachie teen has arm lengthened

It’s been a long wait for Colton Bidner.

After six months of wearing a metal cage on his right arm, the Camlachie teen is finally free of it.

The 13-year-old was born with one arm shorter than the other, which caused his hand to turn in and make simple tasks difficult.

So, the family sought out a U.S. doctor with a procedure that can lengthen bones.

At the age of one, Colton had a Ilirarov Taylor Spatial Frame – better known as the Fixinator – attached to his tiny arm with 10 rods and 4 pins.

Each day, his family would turn the pins ever so slightly to lengthen and separate the bone so it would grow together again.

His mother, Michelle Bidner, admits it was difficult.

“I can’t think about it. I have a weak stomach at the best of times. I have to keep thinking, ‘It’s mechanics, It’s mechanics.’”

Colton had another surgery at seven, and then again in January at the age of 13.

“We have to give him time to grow, so it has been a long and painful process,” Michelle Bidner said.

Colton has been more active than most kids, getting involved in football and hockey and adapting his play to his turned right hand.

With Colton entering Grade 9 at LCCVI in Petrolia in September, the family went to the U.S. for the latest Fixinator in January.

Colton says he answered a lot of questions about the eight pounds of metal surrounding his right arm, before heading to California to have the Fixinator removed.

It will be a month before the teen can be involved in active sports again.

“Nothing has ever stopped him,” says his mom. “There is just nothing he doesn’t try to do.”

 – Heather Wright is publisher and editor of The Independent in Petrolia