Caoimhe Duffy with her brother Finian, dad Feargal and mum Linda at Cannistown NS yesterday (Tuesday).
One small step for Caoimhe, one giant leap for determined children everywhere.
On Monday this week, a six-year-old Navan schoolgirl walked for the first time unaided into her school at Cannistown, marking a triumph of medical intervention and the indomitable human spirit.
Caoimhe Duffy from Oakleigh View, Navan, has cerebral palsy. She was born 11 weeks prematurely and, as a result of complications, was unable to walk or stand without assistance and needed a wheelchair when going any distance. Despite a personality which made her stand out as a bright, independent and determined little girl, she faced a difficult future.
This is where the people of Meath and beyond, and a remarkable American surgeon came in. Because of a major fundraising campaign conducted by Caoimhe's family and hordes of volunteers in the county, she was able to go to the United States for a life-changing operation.
The family returned from St Louis on 10th March to a massive family party (and a surprise interior and exterior painting of their home by an uncle of Feargal's!) and about three weeks ago, Caoimhe was helped take her very first steps with the aid of her physiotherapist whom she attends four times a week.
Describing her feelings when Caoimhe managed to take her first steps, Linda said: "It was really beyond anything we expected. She can balance for the first time in her life. Before the operation, she couldn't stand alone for even a fraction of a second. It's like a different world to her and to us. Now she can get in and out of bed herself and do things she was never able to do before. It's a miracle, really."
To read the full story see this week's Meath Chronicle.