By Danny Baggott
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / Director: Bailey and Annika Eisenbraun
Producer: Kate Moore
Editor: Sonia Estal
22-year-old Christopher Hebert, otherwise known as CJ, was born with Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD) and Multiple Hereditary Exostoses (MHE).
PFFD resulted in CJ missing his right femur bone, whilst MHE has caused painful bone tumours all over his body.
CJ, from Kansas, USA, decided to have a Rotationplasty surgery where doctors amputated his right leg but re-attached it so that his foot could act as a mobilised knee-joint within a prosthetic.
This has enabled CJ to lead a more ‘normal’ and ‘active’ life – he now thanks fitness and his fiancée, MacKenzi Eisenbraun, for saving him.
CJ told Truly: “Fitness has just really changed almost everything about my life.
“I’m not that same kid anymore who would just sit in his room depressed all the time, not able to do anything.
“Whenever I have a surgery, I always end up stuck inside for a while and gain weight.
“So now, I try to work out basically every day. As much as I can. I like being able to test myself.”
CJ has had to endure many treatments over the years for his conditions.
“How many surgeries I’ve had is a very fun question – I’ve lost count,” he said.
“I’ve had some of the tumours removed.
“I’ve had surgeries on my arms, my legs, my rib cage, shoulder blade - you name it.
“And then my one, major, surgery, is called Rotationplasty. I had that on my right leg.”
Growing up, CJ would often dream of leading a better life, but more so found himself sat in his room feeling down.
He said: “Growing up, I knew that I wanted to get married someday.
“But I just thought that wasn’t for me; I was really overweight back then. I struggled with confidence, depression.
“I didn’t really know how to live a normal life.”
But CJ decided to make a change, turning to fitness and joining youth groups – this is where he met his now fiancée, MacKenzi.
“I met MacKenzi through a youth group and we took a trip to Florida,” he said.
“We really clicked from there.
“I just thought that she was the coolest girl.
“She’s helped me in a lot of ways.”
MacKenzi added: “We both have the same, stupid sense of humour.
“I’m proud of CJ, not just because of his fitness story, not just because of his accomplishments, but I don’t know, it chokes me up thinking about all the things he has done.
“I’m just so proud of him.”
The happy couple now like to go hiking together and push themselves to their limits.
And CJ is keen to raise awareness to others that you can achieve anything in life that you set your mind to.
CJ said: “Growing up, the future just felt like a big question mark. It sounds cheesy, but I almost feel more human now.
“I know that me and MacKenzi are going to live a normal life.
“I’ve achieved quite a lot in my lifetime. I like being able to better myself.”