NEARLY two weeks since her life changing operation, Cross Keys youngster Maisie Cooper is well on her way to walking unaided.

After a whirlwind year of fundraising, Maisie, three, is now recovering in America after having the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) operation, costing £60,000.

After being treated by one of the best neurosurgeons in the US, Dr TS Park, Maisie is now well on her way and her parents Gareth and Hayley are delighted with her progress.

“Maisie walked the furthest she has ever walked in her walker Saturday,” Mr Cooper said.

“Easily 40 metres - at least.

“Friends back home are so surprised at how well Maisie has progressed in such a short space of time considering she's only been doing physio for a week.”

Born 11 weeks early, Maisie, who weighed just 2lbs 14oz at birth, has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy – a condition which means her muscles tense up too much and she struggles with simple tasks like sitting up and standing up.

Maisie travelled to St Louis Children’s Hospital in St Louis on January 30 to undergo the SDR operation to decrease the tightness in her muscles in the hope that with intensive physiotherapy, she will be able to walk unaided.

After a tough few days following the operation, where Maisie suffered from back pain and spasms, she has finally been able to enjoy some of the sights including the St. Louis zoo.

“She's really been working hard on her physio and the physio is pushing Maisie hard,” Mr Cooper continued.

“She is loving the sessions though and is always upset to leave, which is a relief to be honest.”

Maisie will return to the UK on March 2 but until then she will have leg braces to wear to bed to keep her legs straight and stretched during the night.

The braces will also help to support her feet and enable her to balance better.

“The physiotherapists are keen for Maisie to be on her feet as much as possible so she's using either her walker or support through us to walk along the hotel corridor to go for evening dinner,” Mr Cooper added.