THIS week marked a milestone in the life of Luca Railton as the ten-year-old was able to stand with both his feet flat on the ground for the very first time.
Luca, who was born with no bone in his right knee, no right tibia and only a partial left tibia due to a rare condition called bilateral tibial hemimelia, had never managed the simple task which most of us take for granted until he underwent life-changing surgery in Florida.
It heralded a happy turn in the Cricklade schoolboy’s young life, who just a few months ago faced having his right leg amputated.
His mother Teresa described watching her son standing on his feet on Wednesday as a dream come true for her and husband Alex.
“Today we saw our Luca take his first steps with both feet flat on the ground,” she said. “Luca has never been able to do this due to not only the feet being in the wrong position but the fact he wore callipers to support his legs.
“Our brave boy, with the help of his amazing physiotherapist Dayle Jackson Federico, took his first steps bare feet on the ground with his walker.
“Alex and I have been waiting for this moment for so long. Dr Paley and the PT team are making our families dream come true.
“We have a long way to go but this is such a major milestone for Luca. Over the coming weeks, with the help of the amazing physiotherapists, Luca will get stronger and begin to take more steps.
“This will then help the surgeons to establish if the lengthening needs to happen.”
Luca underwent a second procedure on May 28, almost two months to the day after a first operation in March.
This time around the surgery did not go exactly to plan as no steps were made by his surgeon, as initially expected to try to lengthen his leg.
But despite this, Luca made a much swifter recovery than he did following the first operation.
Bilateral tibial hemimelia affects just one in a million people.
A few months ago, Luca was told by NHS doctors they would have no other option but to amputate his right leg or fuse it straight.
But American surgeon Dr Dror Paley told the family he could save Luca’s leg.
Teresa and Alex spent the following months raising the £135,000 needed for the operation. They have so far collected nearly £100,000.