A brave north-east youngster has just one final hurdle to overcome to realise her dream of walking independently.
Isla McNab underwent revolutionary surgery in the US at the start of this year and has been working on her strength ever since to be able to take her first independent steps.
The 10-year-old, from Fraserburgh, was born with damaged nerves in her spine and had them cut away during a selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in January.
Surgeons then had hoped that the wheelchair-bound schoolgirl would finally be able to walk alone if all went according to plan.
And last night, mum Jane said the family were confident that their daughter would be taking her first steps in the New Year.
“She’s scared, but you can’t blame her,” she said.
“I think she’s just scared to be let go. She has the strength in both legs – it’s just a case of getting her confidence back up.”
Isla followed up her US surgery with physiotherapy sessions twice a week in Fraserburgh.
At home, locals have been sharing the family’s journey through a dedicated Facebook page set up to originally fund the youngster’s dream.
Townspeople and local businesses helped contribute £80,000 to the effort which eventually saw Isla go under the knife.
Turning 11-years-old next month, her mum added that she understood why Isla was hesitant to take her first step.
“She should have been walking 10 years ago, but we have every faith in her and we’ll keep encouraging her,” Mrs McNab said.
“We understand that she’ll be scared, but we can’t be too sympathetic.
“If she could just take that first step, she would realise that she won’t fall down and she’d be off. It’s just getting her over that last hurdle.”
Two other youngsters from Aberdeenshire – Dylan Parsons from Peterhead and Elrick youngster Adam Walker – also had successful surgery at the St Louis Children’s Hospital.