Finding His Purpose
A visit to our Child Life Zone helped Landon use his voice to help others
When Landon was 6 years old, he would wake in the night and complain of pain in his knees. As a nurse, his mom, Melanie, assumed her son was experiencing growing pains. Then one day, on their way to a soccer game, Landon cried out to his mother in excruciating pain, begging to be taken out of his car seat. When Melanie pulled over and took Landon out of his seat, he breathed a sigh of relief. It was then that she knew Landon's pain was caused by something more serious.
After a series of X-rays and blood work, Landon was diagnosed with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a rare condition in which the ball-shaped head of the thighbone becomes inflamed and irritated due to a temporary loss of blood supply in the hip socket. It is extremely rare for a child to develop Legg-Calve-Perthes disease in both hips, but that was the case for Landon.
"It was very painful to even sit down. If I sat in anything less than a 90-degree angle, I was in excruciating pain," Landon said. "It made my life a lot harder, and it was a very tough thing for a 6-year-old to go through."
Landon was told that it would take two to three years for his body to heal itself. Because running or jumping would slow his healing process, Landon was no longer able to play the sports he loved.
Determined to help her son heal, Melanie and her husband began exploring other activities for him. Landon expressed an interest in racing cars and the family made plans to attend the Indianapolis 500. But when he heard the national anthem, he knew he wanted to explore singing instead. When they returned home, Landon enrolled in voice lessons and discovered his natural talent for music.
"Landon's path has brought so many blessings to his life," Melanie said. "In the midst of all of his physical limitations, pain and trials, there was a purpose."
At 10 years old, Landon was admitted to Cook Children's for appendicitis. During his stay at the medical center, he walked by the Child Life Zone and begged his mom to go in. Landon connected with Raymond Turner, our Child Life Zone recording studio producer, and recorded "Rise Up," a song that was meaningful to him and representative of his journey. Since then, he has performed at a number of events and collaborated on other recordings through the Child Life Zone.
Today, Landon uses his incredible talent to share his story with others. He represents Cook Children's at fundraising events as a patient ambassador and continues to inspire others by performing at the Child Life Zone.
"My motto is that if I can affect one child in a positive way, to take away their focus from whatever they're going through, it is all worth it," Landon said. "One kid is worth the effort. There's nothing better than helping others. I feel like that is my purpose in life."
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