'Miracle' girl takes first steps after being told she would never walk

  • Video report by ITV Cymru Wales correspondent Richard Morgan

An 11-year-old girl from Cardiff has amazed doctors by taking her first steps, years after being told she wouldn't be able to walk.

Ffion Laverick was just three months old when she first underwent surgery to correct a heart defect, before another operation when she was two.

After the operations, her mother Charlotte noticed that Ffion was not developing normally.

Doctors said the toddler had suffered two strokes, and would never be able to walk unaided.

Fast forward to June this year, and Ffion and Charlotte were out enjoying some fresh air in Cardiff Bay when Ffion did something very unexpected.

Leaning against a rock for support, she rose out of her wheelchair and took a few tentative steps.

"There was this rock that we used to sit down by for a little rest", Ffion said. "I stood up because I could lean against it, then I got my balance and I took three steps! Then I kept doing more and more, and when I got home I could walk from my brother's room to the bathroom. "

Mum-of-three Charlotte was shocked to see her daughter doing something the family had been told would never be possible.

"It was just so out of the blue", Charlotte said. "After being told day in, day out by physios and consultants that she'll always need a walking frame or be in a wheelchair, and then to do it on her own."

"They gave her 24 hours to live when she was three months old and she pulled through that. And I believe she's meant to be here and fulfil all her dreams."

She's gone against all the odds and does what she does best. She's always been determined.

Charlotte Laverick, Ffion's mum

Ffion has been video calling her doctor Dr Dirk Wilson, a consultant paediatric cardiologist at Cardiff's University Hospital. and was able to tell him the good news.

"It's amazing, I'm so pleased", he told Ffion, who he has been treating since she was born.

"It's a pleasure looking after you. You're always so full of energy , full of brightness and always bring a smile."

Ffion is now looking forward to returning to school to see out the summer term before starting in high school this autumn.

Meanwhile, she's having physiotherapy to improve her walking ability and help her fulfil her dream of kicking a football around with her siblings.