Five-year-old Matilda Duncan, who suffers from cerebral palsy and was told she would never walk unaided, is now fulfilling her dream of becoming a ballet dancer.
Young Matilda had a life-changing operation just 13 weeks ago to improve her mobility. The surgery, called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, cost over £25,000 (€31,456)– but a fundraising campaign was started by the youngster’s best friend Casey to raise the money needed.
Casey, also aged five, has a different type of cerebral palsy that unfortunately cannot be treated with the surgery. She started the “Walking Matilda” campaign with help from her mum, and raised over £40,000 (€50,329) in just two days – meaning she helped not only her best friend but another child too.
Matilda’s mum Rachel Knowles said the progress in her mobility since the surgery in May has been “astonishing.” Doctors say it will only continue to improve. “She still gets a bit stuck sometimes and struggles, but she's improving all the time and it's nowhere near as bad as it was,” said Rachel. “We've been told that in about two years, it'll be like she never had any mobility issues.”
The youngster was recently accepted into the English National Ballet School and starts classes this October.
'I always wanted to grow up to be a dancer or a footballer, and now I can,” said the little one. “I can't wait to start dancing.”
She added that she will always be grateful to her pal Casey, too. “I have Casey to thank for this. She'll be my best friend forever.”