A mother whose seven-year-old daughter is walking unaided for the first time in her life has told BBC News it has left her “overwhelmed” by emotion.
Sally Morton’s daughter has spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy affecting her ability to move her legs.
But Jasmine has now managed 30 steps unaided. A video showing her reaching 16 steps has been posted on Facebook.
“It’s a place we were unsure we’d ever get to and hard to put into words,” Sally, 34, told BBC News.
Back in 2016, Sally, from Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, fundraised more than £60,000 ($77,000) in less than a year to pay for a selective dorsal rhizotomy operation to reduce the stiffness in Jasmine’s legs.
This was after the opportunity to have the operation on the NHS via a trial fell through.
“A man I’d never met before in my life donated £10,000,” Sally said.
Without the donations for her daughter’s treatment, Sally believes Jasmine would now “be full time in her wheelchair”.
But two years on from her operation, at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, and thanks to regular physiotherapy, Jasmine is now getting around on her own two feet.
Moved by the generosity of strangers, Sally decided to use social media to show everyone supporting Jasmine how she was progressing.
On the video-sharing platform TikTok, one of the videos of Jasmine has been viewed more than half a million times.
The family has documented Jasmine having brain scans and moving around using a walking frame.
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And many of the videos show Jasmine playing with twin sister Summer.
Sally describes Summer as an “unsung hero” who supports her sister and is one of the few people Jasmine trusts.
The pair were desperate to run around together and Jasmine’s latest milestone had given them hope one day this “might be possible”, she said.
In the past, Sally has spoken of her heartbreak at being unable to help Jasmine be more active with her twin.
Jasmine is a “wonderful communicator” who is going to be a “great advocate” for cerebral palsy, according to her mum.
Sally believes Jasmine could one day help schools provide better support for other pupils with cerebral palsy.
And Jasmine already wants to talk about her condition at school assemblies.
“Jasmine is going to be very good at sharing the challenges she has gone through in a physically able world,” Sally says.
What is cerebral palsy?
- Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination
- It is caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during or soon after birth
- Symptoms can include weak arms or legs, random, uncontrolled movements and walking on tiptoes
- The severity of symptoms can vary and there is no cure but it can be managed by physiotherapy
Source: NHS Choices