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Miss Happy Feet: Walking at last… but the biggest thrill for brave meningitis girl is wearing her favourite pink shoes
22:38 GMT, 22 June 2012
She has Peppa Pig shoes for walking to the shops, pretty pink trainers for the park, and Hello Kitty wellies to splash about in puddles.
There’s nothing two-year-old Kaiya Jackson loves more than stepping out in her favourite footwear. And now, after a long and painful wait, she finally can.
The toddler – on the brink of death when she was struck down by meningitis as a baby – lost her fingers and right foot after they were ravaged by blood poisoning.
Out and about: Two-year-old Kaiya Jackson can now enjoy playing in the park with her prosthetic leg and new shoes
These boots were made for walking: A delighted Kaiya Jackson tries out a pair of shoes from her collection
Since then, Kaiya has confidently overcome virtually every hurdle her short but difficult life has presented. The one thing she always asked, however, was when could she have some shoes.
Now she has got some. Five pairs, to be precise – mostly pink, and all fitted to the new prosthetic foot that enables her to walk alongside the playmates she will soon join at nursery. Kaiya was recently fitted with the artificial foot to allow her to take her first proper steps since the operation to remove her own foot last December.
Got my new shoes on: Kaiya Jackson now has five pairs of shoes for different occasions
‘We were all so happy that she would
finally get to wear her shoes,’ her mother Ashley said. ‘Her little face
just lit up. I’ve bought her loads of pairs since then because I can’t
help spoiling her. I think she’s become a bit of a shoe addict.’
Kaiya, who spent ten days in a medically induced coma as doctors battled to save her life 18 months ago, took on the challenge of walking with such gusto that the prosthetic wore away the skin where it attached to her leg. In her desperation to succeed, she had never complained it was hurting.
But it meant yet more surgery to repair the wound, before recuperation under the supervision of a rehabilitation centre near the family home in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
‘They couldn’t tell us when she’d be
able to walk so they said they’d see us in six weeks,’ said Ashley, 24.
‘The next day, she just got up and walked. I just stood with my mouth
open.’ Ashley and partner Dan Jackson, also 24, went to opposite sides
of the room and beckoned their daughter back and forwards between them.
kept asking us to make the distance a little further,’ said Ashley.
‘That day she did 18 steps in a row. Now there’s no holding her back.’
was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital in December 2010 with
bacterial meningitis. Septicaemia had covered her entire body in purple
blotches and her parents were warned she might not survive.
All her fingers and thumbs, and part of one hand, had to be amputated to save her life. Her foot was removed a year later after it failed to recover and became useless. Soon afterwards, her remarkable progress was highlighted in the Daily Mail as she prepared to eat Christmas dinner with cutlery strapped to her wrists.
Now she excitedly walks to the shops with dad and toddles around with one-year-old brother Jayden.
And the next big step She starts nursery in September. Naturally, she’ll want to walk there.
In hospital: Kaiya Jackson being treated in Birmingham Children's Hospital on Christmas Day 2010
Picture of health: Happy Kaiya Jackson, now making a full recovery after being struck with meningitis, with her mother Ashley