Little Lexie Fordyce is back at school just days after returning from America where she had two operations which have changed her life.
The five-year-old, of Corby, who has cerebral palsy, travelled to St Louis, Missouri, with her mum Lisa and grandad Ian for surgery which has enabled her to take her first steps with the help of a walker.
It was a journey of hope made possible by thousands of generous people in the Corby area who supported the £40,000 Lexie’s Leggy Appeal to pay for the operations, travelling expenses and medical care.
Lisa, of Grendon Avenue, in the town, said: “It’s like a miracle.
“I can’t thank everyone enough because they have changed Lexie’s life forever.
“She is using her walker and for the first time she has been able to play with her friends in the playground at school, instead of being in a wheelchair.
“She’s ridden a little trike for the first time too.
“People we will never know have made it all possible.
“While we were in America people in Corby were supporting us with their love and prayers. We feel blessed.
“She is just a little girl of five but she has shown so much strength, even when she was in pain after the surgery.
“There were a lot of tough days and sometimes she would cry during physio but I read out messages from people at home and she kept taking steps.”
Lexie had an operation on her spine, the first of two surgical procedures at St Louis’ Children’s Hospital, on March 28.
“She was in the operating theatre for four hours and spent the next five days in intensive care.
Lisa said: “My dad and I were able to stay with her at the hospital. She caught a bug and it was quite hard for her.”
Lexie then underwent surgery on her legs on April 10. It lasted two hours and the youngster made a remarkable recovery.
From then until the family returned to Corby last Friday, there were daily physio sessions at the hospital.
Lisa said: “The surgeons and all the nursing staff were amazing. They have told me that Lexie must walk, walk, walk.
“Now she’s started there’s no stopping her. She’s off.
“It’s my goal that one day she’ll walk unaided.”