India is walking tall after surgery in USA

India Robertson smiles with her family at home after her successful US operation. Left to right Brother Joshua,Dad James,India,Mum Jennie.Picture Richard Ponter 123525

India Robertson smiles with her family at home after her successful US operation. Left to right Brother Joshua,Dad James,India,Mum Jennie.Picture Richard Ponter 123525

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A Scarborough girl has been taking her first steps after undergoing life-changing surgery in the USA to help with her walking.

India Robertson had surgery in St Louis last month and is now able to walk further than she ever has before.

The plucky 11 year old, of Ebberston, is having intensive physiotherapy and is improving all the time.

She was able to travel overseas for the operation after the local community, family and friends rallied round to raise more than £60,000.

Her mum Jennie said: “She’s doing really well. The stiffness in her legs has totally gone and her walking has improved so much.

“She looks about a foot taller now!”

She explained that before surgery, India would have to use a wheelchair when they went out and about.

But on a recent shopping trip to Sainsbury’s, she was able to walk round the whole supermarket using her frame.

Jennie said: “It’s the first time she ever been able to do that.”

She added that everyone who sees India can’t believe the change in her and how well she is walking since the operation.

The whole family, including brother Joshua, eight, and dad James, are all delighted at India’s progress.

The youngster is now working with a physiotherapist three to four times a week and doing exercises at home every day.

Jennie said: “We’re keeping her walking as much as possible to build up the strength in her legs.

“There is a two-year window for improvement and after that things don’t change a lot, so we want to get the best result possible for India.”

The operation - selective dorsal rhizotomy treatment - was carried out on July 13 at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri.

The procedure is carried out on the spinal cord to help relieve spasms in the patient’s legs.

India had intensive physiotherapy in the USA following the operation, which is now continuing at home.

For the first six months, doctors recommend four hours a week.

India will need to return for a check-up in a year’s time and may need some follow-up surgery on her hamstrings.

Her parents will send a video to the hospital so doctors can assess how she is walking.

Jennie said the hospital and its staff were “fantastic” and that the surgeon was “lovely and very down to earth”.

She added that the operation has made life so much eaiser for India - who is now hoping to realise her dream of having an upstairs bedroom.

Jennie said: “We’re hoping that she’ll be able to walk round the house unaided, but she may need to be aided outdoors.

“The difference already is just amazing. Before, her posture and her gait were so bad. Things have improved so much and she’s so happy.”

India is now looking forward to starting at Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering next week.

Her mum said: “It’s a whole new start for her and she’s taking it all in her stride.”

She thanked everyone who has supported India and the campaign to send her to St Louis, saying: “We can’t thank everybody enough. The support has been brilliant.

“We got about £67,000, which was more than we’d hoped.”

The extra money will go towards physiotherapy and equipment to help India progress at home.