Published: 00:01, 06 January 2016
A little girl is said to be doing well after an operation in America which could see her dreams of walking on her own come true.
Five-year-old, Paige Stewart, from Rainham has cerebral palsy; she struggles to stand on her own and needs a frame to get around.
A campaign started by her parents, Julie and David, and backed by the Medway Messenger, raised £45,000 to pay for the surgery which is not available on the NHS.
Paige had the operation yesterday. Her mum posted to supporters on Facebook last night that Paige was back in her room after returning from theatre and was getting on well.
She added: "Very sleepy but doing good."
Mrs Stewart said if they hadn’t started raising money last year, Paige could be facing life in a wheelchair.
She added: “She’s deteriorated a lot since she walked on her own at the fundraising walk in the summer. Now she struggles to even do any length of walking, the muscles in her ankles are so tight.
"Her mobility will unfortunately decrease until she is wheelchair bound and has no mobility at all" - Mum Julie Stewart
“I have been told there is no more they [the NHS] can do for her, and her mobility will unfortunately decrease until she is wheelchair bound and has no mobility at all. She can’t have botox any more because it makes her too weak.”
The doctors have said the only thing that will help her is physiotherapy, however doctors in America believe Paige will eventually be able to take independent steps by herself.
Paige flew out to Missouri on Saturday and has undergone selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery – which improves muscle stiffness – at St Louis Children’s Hospital.
She will have another op, to lengthen her muscles on January 14.
The little girl touched the hearts of readers last Christmas when she wrote to Santa asking him to help her walk.
People from all over the Towns supported the appeal through raffles, auctions, a five-mile walk, chest waxes and hair cuts, with one anonymous donor giving £20,000.
The fundraising will continue when Paige returns to the UK at the end of January as she will need up to four private physiotherapy sessions a week, as well as equipment such as a treadmill and balance beams to help her become stronger and walk on her own.
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