‘They said I’d never walk, but I might take first steps by Christmas’

Five-year-old girl hopes to walk for the first time after undergoing 'miracle' surgery.

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A five-year-old girl who was told she would be in a wheelchair for life is now hoping to take her first steps before Christmas.

Arabella Green, from Bathgate in West Lothian, has undergone pioneering “miracle” surgery in Poland after funding was raised following a previous STV News story

She was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) – a rare condition which causes joints to stiffen and become fixed into bent or straight positions, restricting movement.

After learning about Arabella, a couple from Edinburgh donated £50,000 towards the cost of the four-hour surgery, which was carried out at the Paley European Institute in Warsaw.

The youngster is now undergoing intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy sessions as she builds up her muscles and learns to walk.

She plans to step off the plane to greet friends and family when she returns to Scotland in January.

“It will be the best Christmas present ever,” her dad William said. “I want to say a major ‘thank you’ to STV, it enabled us to get to Poland this year, which I didn’t think was going to be possible.

Arabella Green is now undergoing extensive rehab.STV News
Arabella Green is now undergoing extensive rehab.

“I managed to raise £30,000 in the community with all my friends and family. Then, with the £50,000 donation, we booked our apartments for 94 days, booked the surgery and had it on October 25.

“With her legs not being bent back and forth before, they have to be constantly bent back and forth every two hours. And she’s got exercises to extend her hamstrings too, getting ready for the big day – hopefully December 7.

“She’ll put a back brace on, leg braces on and she’ll take her first step.” 

‘Ultimate goal’

Arabella’s world was turned upside down earlier this year when her mum Catherine took her own life aged just 27.

Catherine was desperate for her daughter to have surgery on her legs in Poland after NHS doctors said last year there was nothing they could do. 

“To see her daughter walk was her ultimate goal in life,” said William. “Arabella is getting her dream come true. Cat would be the happiest woman alive.”

The physiotherapy is exhausting and painful, but Arabella is pushing through it “like a trooper”, said her dad, adding: “She’s my superhero, I’ve got no words to describe how proud I am of her, she’s very brave. 

“It’s a lot to go through as a five-year-old, but she understands the end goal is to walk. And for her to walk is a dream come true.”