A young girl who was told she would never walk has defied the odds and taken her first steps at four-years-old.
Willow Hughes was born with Spina Bifida, a condition where the spine and spinal cord don’t develop properly in the womb.
Specialists advised mum Emmy Hughes to have an abortion as her baby was likely to be paralysed and unable to communicate.
But Willow has defied medics by finally taking her first steps, as Emmy and dad Jay watched on and captured a video of the heart-warming moment in Broadstairs, Kent.
Emmy posted the video to Facebook, and added: “A little heartwarming post – Willow’s first ‘walk’ out on her little crutches so of course it had to be Viking Bay to Stone Bay.
“This little girl should never have made it and was predicted to be paralysed but look at her now.
“Never ever give up hope.
“It’s been a tough four years but look at that smile – you can actually feel the sense of pride.”
Emmy, 38, described the moment as ‘magical’ saying how they’d watched a determined Willow gradually learn how to pull herself up onto the tiny crutches at their home in Gravesend, Kent.
Emmy says that her daughter is now a bubbly, happy child who makes the most of her life, despite all she has faced.
Emmy said: “At 20 weeks into my pregnancy I was told to seriously consider termination and it’s a sad fact that 67% of couples make that choice.
“Yes it’s been tough, but we have a gorgeous daughter who is cheery and as bright as a button.
“People have been loving Willow at the moment. I think we sometimes take things for granted, but seeing Willow through other people’s eyes has been amazing.”
After the video was shared online, locals were quick to praise young Willow.
Lynn Hudson said: “What an absolute little poppet!! I reckon she could run a marathon one day – if she wanted to.”
And Sabrina Ryan wrote: “Omg ! Precious girl. That smile. Keep going, darling! Proud of you xxx.”
And Roberta Driscoll added: “Willow you will become a legend. Bless your heart.”
Open Spina Bifida affects about 700 babies a year in the UK and occurs when the neural tube – which forms the spine and spinal cord – doesn’t properly close.
It is usually picked up at a woman’s 20-week scan and operations can be done in the womb on some babies to close the gap.
Pregnant women are advised to take Folic Acid to reduce the risk.