Pictures of children on their first day of school always makes us giddy, but watching a little girl with cerebral palsy take her very first steps without help to get to the front doors on her first day? Well, it will give you all the feels.
This is the heartwarming story of 4-year-old Millie Bea Hughes, who had one simple wish; to walk into her first day of lessons all on her own.
While she took her first steps on her own physically, it was her brother’s encouragement that pushed her to keep on walking.
Millie and her twin brother, Evan Hughes, live in Carnforth, Lancashire, and according to their parents, the two have been inseparable since birth.
It’s no wonder that the twins have the world in common, but little Millie was born with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disorder that affects muscle tone, as well as movement and motor skill functions.
It’s this difference that sets many children with the condition apart from their siblings, but for Millie and her sweet brother Evan, it presents a special bond.
In the video, mom Natalie Hughes walks behind Millie acting as a safety net in case she falls, while her younger brother (by 13 minutes) Evan, slowly walks in front of Millie, cheering her on as she takes her first steps.
You can even hear the adorable little Evan offering to bring Millie her toy or a stick to help her keep walking.
Natalie recalls the precious moment as she watched her sweet boy do everything he could to make his big sis’s wish come true.
“Millie was so determined and wanted to do it. It makes me cry every time I watch that video. Evan was encouraging her, you can see his little feet in the clip and hear him ask ‘Shall I get your sticks or a toy?’ It’s really sweet.”
You can tell from the 32-second video that the two really are a team in everything that they do.
Natalie Hughes is the Detective Constable for Cumbria Constabulary and her husband, Chris Hughes, operates a nuclear power station.
Needless to say, between having twins and their responsibility-laden careers, the unbreakable bond and trust that Evan and Millie share makes all of the difference in Millie’s progress.
The most amazing thing is that the bond between the two has been there since day one; when the twins differences began to show.
Natalie remembers how helpful and loving Evan has been towards his sister from the time he took his own first steps.
“It’s just nice to see him be there for her and wants her to walk as much as he does.”
“They love each other very much and he’ll ask ‘Are you OK Millie?’ and try and help her. When we go to the park he makes sure she has a good time and pushes her on the swing which is lovely to see.”
Even with the support of her compassionate little brother, Millie’s condition was wreaking havoc on her body and her quality of life.
In order to make her wish of being able to walk alongside her brother come true, the precious little girl would have to undergo a very costly surgery.
The operation, known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), entails opening up Millie’s lower back to separate the “rootlets” in her nervous system there, which would ease the tightness and pain in her legs, allowing her to walk on her own.
Natalie and Chris created a fundraising page at Just Giving where they were able to raise £3,562.00 more than their target goal of £40,000.00, and on January 13th this year, Millie underwent the SDR surgery at the Portland Hospital in London.
After receiving the operation, the brave little girl has attended “extensive physical therapy” sessions, which have enabled her to use her walking frame less and less, using just a walking stick to help her balance.
Natalie couldn’t be more proud of her two loving children.
“It makes me really, really proud. She’s come so far with all her physio and Evan always wants to help her.”
She goes on to explain that without the surgery, Millie’s dream would be an impossibility.
“Yesterday was her first time walking in public unaided, something made possible by an intensive strength and conditioning course at specialist therapy centre Walk This Way in Perth… She’s now able to do things she couldn’t do before the operation and is smashing it – I’m so proud of her.”
Although the operation and PT are what physically enabled her to be able to take those first steps, it is clear in the video that all of her mental strength and courage come directly from the overwhelming love and support of Millie’s family, and especially that of her twin brother.
We are all so proud of you Millie! Keep those legs moving!
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