A BRAVE six-year-old has taken her first steps, thanks to pioneering surgery made possible by donations from fellow North Tynesiders.
Lily Gordon, of Tenbury Crescent, Preston Grange, North Shields, was born with cerebral palsy, causing a tightening of her leg muscles and leaving her unable to walk unassisted.
Her family – mum Joanne, dad David and sister Katie set up the HelpLily2StLouis fund to raise £50,000 to fund a trip to the US so Lily could undergo a selective dorsal rhizotomy, enabling her to take her first steps without the use of a frame.
Hundreds of people got behind Lily and smashed the family’s fundraising target figure, giving more than £70,000.
Thanks to their generosity, Lily had the surgery done in August after flying out on her sixth birthday.
After the first operation, the youngster, a pupil at Star of the Sea RC Primary School in Monkseaton, then endured another for tendon lengthening, and since returning to England, the brave youngster has taken her first tentative steps without the use of a frame.
Mum Joanne said: “Everywhere we go, people are asking about Lily. She’s doing really well and slowly getting better and better at doing things.
“Since having her operation, she hasn’t really wanted to use her walking frame.
“She no longer trips over her feet and is taking nice big steps, lifting her knee up and placing her foot on the ground.
“Her feet still turn in a little, but we’ve been told that is due to her hips being weak, so we need to work on strengthening those.
“She’s coming on really well with her new crutches, considering she’s only had them just over a week.
“She’s still very wobbly when turning corners, but the other day she managed to walk around the house by herself, only losing her balance at the corners.
“A new physio is coming to our house three nights a week after school.
“As well as that, we’re doing stretches two to three times a day, then at weekends it’s more stretches, strengthening exercises, as much walking as we can do, riding her bike, and whatever else we can fit in.”
Joanne has ordered a treadmill to help build up Lily’s stamina and enable her to her strengthen her legs and hips by walking backwards and sideways.
The family are now hoping Lily will one day be able to walk completely unaided.