Girl, 4, who lost her legs in battle against meningitis walks again with false limbs
Little girl also lost her fingers, half a thumb and half a palm after illnessShe became inspired to walk again after meeting the first man in UK to receive bionic leg prosthetics
Courageous: Less, than a year ago, four-year-old Grace Matthews lost both of her legs below the knee, all of her fingers, half the thumb of her left hand and half the palm of her right hand when she contracted meningitis
A child”s first steps are always special. But this brave little girl gave her parents the best Christmas present they could have hoped for when she walked for the first time since losing both of her legs after battling meningitis.
Four-year-old Grace Matthews, of MIle Cross, Norwich, made her parents weep with joy as she took her first steps using her prosthetic limbs.
Less than a year ago, the youngster had both of her legs removed below the knee after contracting meningitis, as well as all of her fingers, half the thumb on her left hand and half the palm on her right.
However, the little girl became determined to walk again after meeting Matthew Newbury, a Norwich-born man who became the first person in Britain to receive a new bionic leg prosthetic system.
Grace”s 37-year-old mother Vicky said: “We are really, really proud of her. She is unbelievable. It is amazing how she gets through everything. It is like to her there is nothing wrong.
“She is a very inspiring, very stronglittle girl. We get a lot of our strength from her. Grace had to fight for her life after being rushed to hospital with a temperature, sicknessand a rash all over her body less than a year ago.”
Vicky, who is also mother to Grace”s six-year-old brother Thomas, added: “Matthew showed Grace how he uses his legs and she asked to put her legs on.
Best Christmas present they could have hoped for: Grace with her mother Vicky, father Brian and six-year-old brother Thomas
“She took her first few steps that day outside the school while we were waiting for Thomas.
“We were talking to Brian”s sister Clare about Grace”s legs when Grace said, “let go of me” and took three steps on her own towards her aunt.
“It was a very emotional moment. Then she came back home and was walking around using the wall as guidance.
“It was unbelievable how quickly she went from taking three steps to walking around the house.”
She added: “I was telling Brian on the phone when she said, “Mum come and have a look at me”, and she walked from the TV to the sofa.
Inspiration: Little Grace was determined to walk again after meeting Matthew Newbury, the first Briton to receive the new bionic prosthetic leg system “Genium”
“She had walked before but she always had someone holding her. I gasped when I saw her and had tears in my eyes.”
Brian, 42, a delivery driver, said: “Grace told me to wait near the front door and walked towards me. That feeling was overwhelming – just seeing her standing there and walking was unbelievable. It was lovely.
Grace has been walking a few more steps every day with her new legs, which have been custom-made in her favourite colours of pink and purple, which will make it easier for her to get around school – Mile Cross Primary – and when playing with her pet kitten Vixi.
Vicky added: “What has happened really makes you appreciate your time with your family and your loved ones.
“We have got two big family get-togethers planned this Christmas and we are going to make sure we all have a super-duper Christmas.”