Five years ago she could not walk – but now battling Doncaster youngster Mae Fox is dancing.
Mae, aged nine, has just celebrated the fifth anniversary of a pioneering operation she underwent in America at the age of four – while preparing to take a grade two dance exam!
Mae, of Birch Road, Cantley, walked for the first time after ground-breaking surgery in the states, and she and her family marked the anniversary of the operation with a cake and a celebration on January 28 at home. She also took cakes in to mark the date at her school, North Ridge Community School, in Adwick.
Mae had previously been told by doctors that she may never walk because of her spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy - the most severe form of the condition. But her family raised £70,000 with support from Free Press readers to pay for the surgery, and have tried to raise £12,000 a year subsequently to pay for physiotherapy.
Delighted mum Amy has now revealed Amy has started dancing with Haydon’s Dance Academy, in Barnby Dun, and is taking exams.
She said: “It’s a class for all abilities, for children with special needs, and we have found a very dedicated dance teacher.
“Mae used to be wheelchair bound but she has developed over time to the point that she walks with a frame.
“Just walking from A to B becomes repetitive for her. But when we first started the campaign to raise money for her operation, she was asked what she would most like to do when she was up. She was only four, and said she wanted to dance.
“We took her to her first lesson a while ago, and dances with her walking frame and after half an hour her legs were aching.”
Amy said for her and husband Matt the decision for Mae to have the operation was the hardest of their lives – but without doubt the best.
Mae passed her level one exam last year, and she will have her level two exam in April.
“We were so proud when she got her level one medal,” said Amy
Mae also swims, and recently swam without floats for the first time. She is continuing to receive physiotherapy in Doncaster, and also goes to a specialist in Scotland each year.
Amy added: “Over the last 5 years, we have seen Mae use a walker for the first time, sticks and canes which she has learned to use, to some degree, independently, and we are currently working with forearm crutches, on independent standing and balancing and working towards those first, consistent, independent steps.
“Mae has achieved a wealth of support and made friends across the UK, the entire globe in fact!”
Fund raising events are continuing to take place for Mae, under the family’s Hope4Mae campaign.
Planned events include a sponsored skydive by friends by people at the Maple Tree pub in Balby, and a sponsored bikeathon at her local Co-op.