Published: 10:00, 24 December 2014
Most children put the latest games console, a Barbie or a bike on their Christmas list. But little Paige Stewart has written to Santa to ask if she can walk.
Paige longs to be able to dance, ride a scooter or run around with big brother Craig.
So this Christmas, instead of a toy, she asked if Santa can help her learn to walk.
Mum Julie said: “She said she wants to play on a trampoline and play football with Craig. As a parent it is very hard to hear.”
Julie and husband David, who live in Rainham, have launched a fundraising campaign, backed by the Medway Messenger, to pay for an operation to help Paige walk which is not available on the NHS.
Paige has undergone extensive tests at Guy’s Hospital, London, to see if there are any ways she can be helped before surgery. Her parents will get results in the New Year.
The family recently moved to an adapted house with widened doors and a wet room – which Julie said has made a huge difference.
Despite Paige’s struggles, she started school at Twydall Primary in September and is enjoying every minute.
Julie, 34, said: “She loves it. She got to play a sheep in the nativity which she was very excited about. She has been learning to write her name so she has written her name on Christmas cards this year.”
The surgery, which needs to be done before Paige is 10 for it to work, would involve cutting nerve endings to stop the spasms in her legs.
Julie and David have already raised several thousand pounds but still have a long way to go. They recently started their own version of the ice bucket challenge, asking family and friends to do a silly dance, post a video online and donate £5. The idea has started to take off, with almost £100 raised in just a few days.
Julie said: “We are asking people to do a silly dance because Paige is desperate to dance one day. Paige and I kicked it off by doing a dance together and posting a video online.”