TEN-year-old Luca Railton has taken his first steps with the help of a walker, seven weeks after undergoing life-changing surgery on his legs.
Recovery initially proved difficult for the Cricklade schoolboy as he spent days in excruciating pain following a major operation in the United States.
But after seven weeks of intense physiotherapy, Luca, who just a few months ago faced the prospect of having his right leg amputated, was finally able to walk on Wednesday with the aid of a frame for the first time since the procedure on March 27.
It was an emotional moment for parents Teresa and Alex, who spent months raising the £135,000 needed for the operation.
But Luca’s ordeal is far from over as he prepares for a second round of surgery on May 28.
“Luca had his seven-week check with the surgeon and the X-rays showed that he is healing well and the leg straightening on the right leg has another week to go,” said Teresa.
“The only disappointment we had was that we were hoping that the cast on the left leg would now be ready to be removed, but the X-ray showed that his knee needs a bit more time to heal. So we must be patient.
“At this time Luca is only allowed to put 50 per cent of his weight through his legs because of the knee.”
Luca 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, which affects one in a million people.
In February 2013, NHS doctors in Oxford told the Railtons they would have to amputate or fuse his right leg straight as it would become increasingly painful with time.
But American surgeon, Dr Dror Paley, told the family he could save Luca from amputation and operate on his legs.
“Luca’s next procedure is on May 28,” added Theresa.
“So up until then we need to focus on keeping him strong, continue with the physio and getting him up and walking.
“With all of this happening, Luca remains in good spirits and is enjoying Florida.
“We are so blessed to have had a positive opportunity come out of a challenging situation and as a result we have become closer as a family, stronger, met some wonderful people and have appreciated what we have and how special that is.
“Thank goodness Mr Paley was found.
“Luca is making great progress and that is all that matters.
“We hope by the end of the year that we will see the full results of Dr Paley’s magic and Luca's determination to heal and get better.”