The dad of a disabled girl whose mum took her own life while campaigning for treatment for her daughter says she would have been beaming with pride after little Arabella received ‘miracle’ surgery.
Delighted dad William Green says his family could receive the ‘best Christmas present ever’ as his five-year-old girl may take her first steps after specialist surgery in Poland.
Arabella Green, from Bathgate, West Lothian, has been confined to a wheelchair after she was diagnosed with the rare condition of arthrogryposis as a baby.
In a further tragedy Arabella, or Ella as she is called by loving family, lost her mum Catherine to suicide in March after she had campaigned for treatment which is not available in Scotland.
Dad William has said that Ella has now travelled to Eastern Europe and the surgery has been successful – with hopes that with therapy she will be able to take her first steps by Christmas day or even sooner.
The 35-year-old told the Record: “Life-changing isn’t the word.
“My daughter is told she would never be able to walk but it’s not just that, it has given Ella so much opportunity and independence in life now that her mum is not here.
“The surgery has gone absolutely amazing. She now has 90 degree mobility in her legs, she’s had some of her fibia removed on her quadricep and metal rods and plates put in to support her muscles.
“We are also undergoing intensive physiotherapy every day at the hospital for an hour and a half of learning to basically move her legs properly- which she has never done before.
“On December 7 we hope for her to be able to stand upright and by Christmas she will hopefully be taking her first steps.
“It is the only Christmas present that we would ever ask for and that could compensate for the loss of her mother.
“If you can imagine her taking her steps it is just priceless.”
Big-hearted Scots rallied to the family and raised more than £30,000 in an incredible show of support for an online fundraiser for the surgery.
Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) is a rare disease that affects one or more areas of the body before birth.
The joints affected become permanently fixed in a bent or straightened position and it can completely restrict movement.
Catherine was desperate for her daughter to have surgery on her legs in Poland after NHS doctors said last year that there was nothing they could do for the tot.
But the family persevered and Catherine found an American doctor with a European medical team in Warsaw who said he could help Ella.
The young mum then travelled there with her daughter for a consultation in February 2020 and was overwhelmed with hope after being told that her child could have a chance of walking after surgery.
But just over a year later, Catherine tragically took her own life at the age of just 27.
William said that he was sure Catherine was looking down on the pair and that the trip had ‘restored his faith in humanity’ and that he was confident that Ella would be walking off the plane when they arrive back in Scotland in January.
He added: “She is having to learn to use her gluts, quads and hamstrings and all her muscles.
“She will eventually be put on her feet in back braces and leg braces which will allow her to take her first steps.
“This doctor has done 152 kids now and he really is a miracle man.
“Her mother started this journey and while I’ve not finished her journey I’ve definitely progressed it and when we come back to Scotland in January Ella will walk off that plane.
“Her mum will be beaming down with pride and would be so proud of her. I just have this feeling that her mum is guiding her from above.
“I’ve never bee a religious man but there have been a few things that have happened here in Poland that has shown me that there are people looking out for us above.
“The way that people have supported us in Scotland donating to the amazing way the Polish people have been it has really restored my faith in humanity.”
The pair have been in Poland over the Halloween festivities- with Ella hopeful that she can go trick or treating herself next year.
William added: “The physiotherapy is sore for her. You can imagine if you have been on your back for five years and now she is using muscles that she has never used before.
“I’ve been shown the techniques that I need to do with her and we are going to get through this.
“She has end goals in sight now, she wants to walk in the park with her family and this year she was a bit hurt she couldn’t go trick or treating.
“But next year she won’t need to go to a door in a wheelchair- she will walk there with her basket and her halloween costume on and that gives us both strength to get through this.”
To donate to help the family click here.