JUST weeks after the operation that changed her life, Crosskeys youngster Maisie Cooper is only months away from walking independently.
After a whirlwind year of fundraising, Maisie, three, has returned from America after having the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) operation, costing £60,000.
After Maisie was treated by one of the best neurosurgeons in the US; Dr TS Park, the youngster's parents Gareth and Hayley have said she is progressing faster than expected with doctors predicting that she could walk independently in the next six to 12 months.
“She is doing really really well,” Mr Cooper said.
“She is still walking with her Kaye Walker and is getting stronger each day.
“She has about four hours of physio each week- about the same as what we were doing in America, and we are mixing between NHS and private health care.
“She is still on track to becoming mobile independently by the end of the year.”
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 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.
“She is enjoying coasting around the living room," Mr Cooper continued.
“I don’t think she realises she is doing it - I think she thinks it is all part of the process of growing up.
“It hasn’t affected her confidence - she is a confident and outspoken little girl.
“Dr Park is really impressed with the progress she has made.”
He added “She is still using her Kaye Walker until she is really mobile.
“She is also using her walking stick, it’s a mix of both.”
Alongside doing her physio, Maisie is back at nursery and playgroup during the week.
Mr Cooper added: “We are all overwhelmed by her progress.”