A mother has spoken of her joy after her toddler defied the odds to take her first steps after doctors told her she would never be able to walk.
Laura Dearden, 28, said that the first 18 months of her daughter’s life have been a “roller coaster ride” after little Savannah’s spasms turned out to actually be a rare brain disorder.
Sudden infantile spasms
Laura’s daughter was suffering from sudden infantile spasms at just a few months old, after having been born “completely healthy”.
An MRI scan in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in July 2020 revealed that Savannah had lissencephaly, which is a rare condition which tragically causes many children to die before the age of 10.
The condition means that the surface of the brain is smooth instead of ridged, which causes significant developmental delays.
The 18 month old is likely to remain at the developmental stage of a five month old, and doctors warned parents Lauren and Johnathan Mould, 36, that she may never learn to walk, talk or crawl.
However Savannah has defied the odds and was able to take her first steps using a stander on 1 April.
‘She’s a warrior’
Laura, from Blackpool, said: “She’s my little fighter and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
“Seeing her do the things she’s not meant to do, I’m so proud. It’s something we can work towards. Hopefully she will keep defying the odds.
“She has been such a little fighter from day one. She’s so stubborn, which must be from her dad’s DNA.
“Even at hospital when she’s getting poked at, with a dozen doctors surrounding her, she’s just not phased. For such a little, delicate thing, she’s a warrior.
“And she inspires me. If she can do it, we can do it.”
‘They told us she wouldn’t walk’
Laura explained that coming to terms with her daughter’s condition has been a nightmare, but the family are managing to pull through it together as they are “not prepared to give up on her”.
She said: “When she was born we had no idea she would have a brain condition. She was a completely normal baby.
“Getting the diagnosis was a massive kick in the teeth. They told us she wouldn’t walk, or meet any of the milestones.
“Most kids don’t live past 10. Which was another nice fact they flung at us.
“Savannah is my first child, so it made it hard for us to just get to terms with it.
“I had all of these plans we were going to do or what she might do, who she would be, and it all got smashed to pieces.
“But we’re not prepared to give up on her.”
‘A glimmer of hope’
Little Savannah will have to undergo years of physiotherapy, but the goal is that she will be able to walk all on her own.
Laura was left “crying her eyes out” after she was sent a video of Savannah taking her first steps, as she was so overwhelmed with joy.
She said: “Seeing Savannah taking those steps left me an emotional wreck. I was at work, and I was sent the videos of her and I was crying my eyes out.
“We are trying to manage our expectations, as it’s difficult to keep getting your hopes up only for them to be crushed, but to see her with feet doing what they’re meant to do was amazing.
“To be told she wouldn’t be able to, but to see that she’s trying to do it.
“Her brain is making those connections, it’s beautiful. It’s a glimmer of hope we can hold on to.”
The family has said that they will be taking it day by day, and are hoping to move into a bigger home in order to accommodate Savannah’s needs.