A four-year-old girl with cerebral palsy was able to walk for the first time, just in time for her first day of school, thanks to a life-changing operation.
Emmy King’s parents feared she’d be in a wheelchair for life after she was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy aged 20 months, which caused her muscles to be constantly stiff.
However, after undergoing surgery in America, costing £85,000, Emmy’s parents, Carly and Dave, were able to watch their little girl walk through the school gates.
The money was raised through generous donations from family, friends and strangers.
Carly, 32, from Lychpit, Hampshire, said she smiled proudly as her ‘incredible daughter’ walked into the classroom:
When Emmy was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a baby, before I’d even left the consultant’s office, my mind jumped straight forward to this moment – ‘Will she ever walk? Will she be able to go to a mainstream school?’
Since the day she was diagnosed our entire family has worked tirelessly to make this a reality.
One year of epic fundraising and two years of daily, relentless physiotherapy, and here we are. Our dream has come true.
Emmy had the operation, called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) just before her second birthday. Since then, she’s been having intensive physiotherapy to help her stand independently and learn how to walk.
Now, two years after the surgery, the hard work has paid off.
Carly, a mother-of-two, described Emmy as ‘our hero and inspiration’, after winning her fight to stand on her own two feet.
Emmy is incredible. Whatever we’ve done to help her along the way, she’s done all the hard work. Every day of her life. A more determined little girl you will not find.
Carly added how she would be forever grateful to everyone who donated to her cause, saying:
Those donations have changed her life and without them she wouldn’t have walked into school. She would have had to use her frame and it would be a completely different story.
To have the independence to walk into school and not feel any different, that was always our dream and it really has come true, she can start school like all the other children.
Despite being a day for celebration, Carly says the moment she watched Emmy walk into school felt normal:
I had built this moment up in my mind for so long, but it was just the same as when her sister Isla started school. But isn’t that amazing? It was just Emmy starting school.
A week in at her new school, Emmy is said to be enjoying life as a student, and is already popular in the classroom according to her mum:
She’s full of confidence and so sociable and loves making friends. She almost can’t remember that she couldn’t walk.
I think she knows that we are really proud of her, but I think her first day was just like any other child’s first day, she was so happy to be starting school.
Well done, Emmy!
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.