Watch Gracie, 6, start journey to walk unaided for the first time after life-changing operation

PUBLISHED: 10:55 29 May 2017

Gracie, aged six, with her sister Mollie following her operation.

Gracie, aged six, with her sister Mollie following her operation.

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The parents of a six-year-old girl who has had surgery to enable her to walk unaided for the first time in her life say thank you 'will never be enough' to pay back the people of Weston-super-Mare, who raised £60,000 for the life-changing operation.

Gracie, aged six, has just had surgery which will mean she can walk unaided for the first time in her life.Gracie, aged six, has just had surgery which will mean she can walk unaided for the first time in her life.

Gracie Thorne, who has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, has had a specialist surgery which will eventually help her to walk unaided.

Her parents, Scott and Sarah Thorne, say she ‘makes them proud every day’ with her determination and fighting spirit.

Before the operation Gracie was unable to walk without a frame or sticks, as the spasticity in her legs made her muscles tight.

Gracie with her mum and dad, Sarah and Scott, sister Molly and baby brother Henry.Gracie with her mum and dad, Sarah and Scott, sister Molly and baby brother Henry.

But at Bristol Children’s Hospital on May 15 surgeons opened up part of her spine and cut multiple nerve endings to relax her leg muscles.

The procedure is not available on the NHS so Gracie’s parents had to raise £60,000 to pay for the operation and the extensive physiotherapy Gracie now needs.

The family, of Longridge Way, launched Gracie’s Appeal in May 2016 and had hit their target by November, after £30,000 was raised in one night at the Axentis Michael Charity Ball on the Grand Pier.

Gracie’s surgery went well and she has now been discharged from hospital.

But she must learn to walk all over again, as her muscles have completely changed and are weak and tight following the operation.

Her legs are in a cast to stretch her calf muscles, and she is having two physiotherapy sessions a day.

Scott said there is a ‘long road ahead’ for his little girl, as she could need physiotherapy for two to four years.

But he added Gracie is already doing well, and said: “On her second day of physiotherapy she managed to walk, slowly with a frame and help, for around 200 yards, many others who have had this operation manage maybe around 10 yards on their second day of physiotherapy.

“She makes us proud every day. She is so willing and determined which is the best possible way to pay back the effort and funds people have given to help us get to this stage as thank you will never be enough.”

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