Family’s Joy as Amputee Toddler Takes First Steps

We don’t usually print news stories but this one was so heartwarming I thought I should share it.

I’m sure anyone reading it will join us all at the DBF in wishing the aptly nicknamed little Suzanna “Lionheart” Gibson a long, healthy and happy life. She’s certainly fought for it already and clearly has the support of a strong and loving mother, Mags. 

Our sympathy also, of course, to Mags  and her family on the loss of Suzanne’s twin sister, Neha.

We hope you go from strength to strength, Suzanne, and that you’ll join us on one of our Bader Braves Flying Days or Adventure Weekends in due course. Until then we consider you an honorary Bader Brave!

From: THE GAZETTE (Renfrewshire) 1/10/2014

Suzanna Gibson taking her first steps on her padded leg

Suzanna Gibson

THIS is the heartwarming moment a remarkable tot took her first steps after being given a prosthetic limb.

On Tuesday morning, three-year-old amputee Suzanna Gibson was fitted for her first padded leg at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, allowing her to walk alongside her big sister Gabriella for the first time.
Suzanna, who was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, was just eight weeks old when she underwent the emergency surgery just to survive.
Born 12 weeks early and weighing little more than a bag of sugar, both Suzanna and her twin sister Neha were left fighting for their lives.
Their distraught mother Mags was told to prepare for both of the girls’ funerals, as doctors believed both of them were too tiny to fight back.
Daughter Suzanna survived the premature birth, but baby Neha’s health deteriorated.
After desperate attempts to get her to breathe without a ventilator, doctors sadly pronounced Neya dead at just 12 days old.
For Mags, the pain is still too raw to bear. However she is “determined” to make sure her daughter Suzanna leads as normal a life as possible.
“I was at my wits end. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” Mags said. “I’d just lost my baby daughter Neha and now I was being told I could lose Suzanna too, it broke my heart.
“Neha had always been the stronger baby, in all honesty we thought we would lose Suzanna and that Neha would break through.
“Both of them were on ventilators and the doctors gave me no hope. It was horrendous.
“Neha died when she was 12 days old but bizarrely that’s when Suzanna began to get better and fight back.
“I was at her bedside everyday, despite still mourning the loss of my other child.
“Then, after doctors said she was too weak to survive also, she grabbed my finger and cradled it. “She looked up at me and I knew she would be a little fighter.”
Much to Mags’ astonishment, Suzanna began to show improvements in the days leading up to her sister’s death.
Weighing a tiny 2lbs, doctors said the fragile youngster would need to have a long line, which is similar to a catheter, inserted into her stomach to pump oxygen into her body to allow Suzanna to grow.
However, while Neha was still fighting for her life, Suzanna contracted a deadly infection named ishemia two days after she was born.
Horrified doctors said the line had caused a trauma and infection the tot’s hip, causing the blood supply to be blocked off.
Doctors managed to save Suzanna’s right leg through antibiotics, but told Mags they were uncertain of whether they could save her daughter’s left leg.
Then, at eight weeks old, less than two months after Neha’s tragic death, Suzanna was forced to have it amputated.
Still grieving the loss of her baby girl Neha, Mags said it was “the worse day of my life.”
She added: “I was sobbing because it was just so final.
“The surgeons pulled back the blanket to show me the amputation had been a success, but I burst into tears.
“I thought to myself, ‘What is her future going to be like? Will she be picked on?’
“I’d just lost a child now my other baby was going through all this pain.
“But then I realised she was still Suzanna no matter what. She’s an amazing wee girl.”
Three years on from the surgery, the inspirational toddler has stunned doctors by learning to crawl, eat and speak on her own.
And on Tuesday last week, Suzanna experienced perhaps the most exciting moment of her life – getting her first prosthetic legs.
Little Suzanna was brimming with joy when she left the hospital, donning a fancy pink dress, her first pair of shoes, and a huge grin.
Tears streamed down proud mother Mags’ face as her daughter’s jaw dropped upon seeing her life-changing left leg for the first time. “I was crying tears of joy,” Mags admitted.
“It was so incredibly emotional. My precious little girl finally had her leg and she took it remarkably well.
“It only took us around 20 minutes to have it fitted. As soon as we got home, Suzanna went with her uncle Stevie to look at it in the mirror. She was grinning so much – I honestly believe that she knew she wanted this for a long time, even though she is only three.
“I am ecstatic, it is the best feeling in the world. I’m so, so proud of my precious baby girl.”
The entire Gibson family gathered at Mags’ house in Paisley to celebrate the tear-jerking moment of Suzanna taking her first steps, which grandmother Margaret filmed on camera.
Mags continued: “We filmed her taking her first steps and it was so heartwarming.
“Doctors have always said to me that she would never be able to walk, talk or do the type of things other children do – but they are so impressed because Suzanna is constantly proving them wrong. When she is older she will have to have adjustments as she grows but we’ll take that one step at a time. We call her our little lionheart.”
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