An adorable seven-year-old girl who had both her legs amputated in a pioneering operation is continuing to defy the odds – by learning how to SKATEBOARD.
Rosie Davies became one of only three people in the world to undergo the revolutionary surgery to fix a life-threatening spinal condition two years ago.
The schoolgirl suffers from ultra-rare Spinal Segmental Dysgenesis (SSD) and was born with no feeling in her legs – which were stuck in a crossed position.
Doctors also discovered that FIVE bones which made up part of her spine were missing – leaving a 10cm gap in her backbone.
The rare spinal condition meant her organs, including kidneys, were in danger of slowly being crushed which could have had fatal consequences.
Rosie then had both her legs amputated below the knee in a pioneering 13-hour operation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in November 2012.
A section of bone was taken to bridge the gap in her spine and surgeons bolted two metal rods to her upper spine and hips to provide extra support.
Now, almost exactly two years on, the plucky seven-year-old is determined to live life to the full and enjoys playing games, swimming and even dancing on her hands.
And despite her obvious disability, she has also learnt to skateboard and often shows off her skills to friends by zooming up and down her street.
Yesterday (Thur), brave Rosie, who lives in Bloxwich, near Walsall, West Mids., said: “I feel perfect.
“When it comes to skateboarding I have no fear. I’d love to have a go at volleyball too and I like playing football.
“I like to play with my friends, I know I’m different but they don’t treat me any differently. I just want to do all the things that they can do.
“And for Christmas I’d love to have my own specially adapted bike – that’s my dream.”
Single mum Mandy, 47, who is also Rosie’s full-time carer, added: “She really is an inspiration and she will not let her disability get in the way of living life to the full.
“I called her my little Buddha because of the way her legs were.
“I knew there was something wrong when I was pregnant, but no one would listen to me.
“When Rosie was born I was told that she would be stuck on a bean bag all her life. But she has proved everyone wrong.
“Since the surgery I’ve seen a dramatic difference. She can now stand up on her skateboard, pushing herself along, and even does tricks.
“She can see the world around her and the most important thing is she can join in playing with her friends. I’m so proud of her.”
Rosie, who also has a sister Mia-Alice, nine, attends a mainstream primary school near her home, which has been specially adapted for her.
The youngster suffered a set-back after the surgery when she developed an infection – which led to a kidney being removed along with the two metal rods last year.
Mandy added: “The doctors were worried that her back wouldn’t be strong enough, but it is better than it was before. They are very pleased with her progress.
“Rosie hasn’t had any physiotherapy. At the moment they don’t think her hips would be strong enough for her to have prosthetic limbs.
“But she doesn’t let anything stop her and enjoys dance at school and goes swimming.
“Her amazing upper body strength has come from her doing the things she wants to do with her skateboard.
“She can walk on her hands too and does cartwheels.
“What she really wants now is a bike for Christmas, but it would cost more than #1,000 as it has to be specially made for her.
“It would be one where she can use her hands to peddle, something like the paralympians use.”
The brave schoolgirl has also been tipped as a future paralympian by impressed bosses at a disabled children’s charity.
Mandy added: “It was frightening at first especially when she went on the skateboard. It does worry me. But I know at the same time she will get on in life.
“She has got the ability to understand what has happened to her and adapt situations to her needs.
“Her sister Mia-Alice is also very supportive and plays with her a lot, as well as looking out for her.
“Rosie went to Whizz Kids training and they were very impressed with her upper body strength.
“It would be great to get her involved in sport. They said that one day they could see her being a paralympian.”
Although daredevil Rosie has no lower limbs, the rest of her body is the same size as other children her age.
Mum Mandy added: “People do stare at Rosie when we are out.
“They usually think it is meningitis but they don’t know what to say. But once they are in her presence they realise how outgoing and friendly she is and feel more comfortable.
“All the children that live around here love Rosie and stick up for her – not that she needs it as she’s so strong and independent – and very cheeky.”
Rosie is under the care of the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, in Northfield, Birmingham.
Spine Surgeon David Marks, who performed the operation, said: “Because of her rare condition, Rosie was only the third person in the world to have this type of operation and we are so pleased with how well she’s doing.
“Rosie’s always been a very cheerful and positive little girl and I know she has a bright and happy future ahead.”
To help buy brave Rosie her dream bike for Christmas, supporters can donate by visiting – http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/buyrosieabike
Spinal Segmental Dysgenesis is a rare congenital spinal abnormality seen in neonates and infants, in which a segment of the spine and spinal cord fails to develop normally.
It’s thought Rosie is the only person in the UK to have the condition and there are only around 10 known sufferers in the world.