See the amazing moment Hartlepool youngster Dottie O'Keefe walks for first time in public

A little girl who could barely walk just over a year ago amazed her family by striding out onto the dance floor unaided.

Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 06:00 am

Five-year-old Dottie O’Keefe, who has cerebral palsy, underwent a major operation on her spine last April to help her walk after supporters raised £35,000 to pay for it.

She has made great progress since by walking with a tripod walking stick and even riding on a scooter.

Dottie showed everyone just how far she has come this weekend when she walked completely unaided for the first time in public at a Toy Story themed children’s party at the Corporation Sport and Social Club.

Dottie O'Keefe, aged five, with mum Helen Noon

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She confidently ditched her walking stick and headed out on to the dance floor with the other children and stood on her own two feet without any help for almost a minute.

Mum Helen Noon, 26, of Rossmere, Hartlepool, captured the magical moment, also watched by dad Danny O’Keefe, by recording it on her mobile phone.

She said: “She has started taking a few steps in the house on her own, but this is the first time she has ever done anything like that.

“I said to her ‘go and have a dance and I will take your picture’ and the next thing off she went.

Dottie standing on her own two feet.

“I had my phone out to take a picture of her dancing and then she started walking.

“I was nearly crying. I was over the moon.

“I didn’t know whether to stand up and try to catch her in case she fell.”

Dottie’s operation, called a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), has reduced the stiffness in her leg muscles caused by her cerebral palsy.

Dottie on the dance floor without any help.

Helen, also mum to Connie, added: “Dottie is a lot stronger but she seems to be a lot more confident.

“Usually when there is a lot of people around she wouldn’t dream of doing something like that.

“I was quite shocked.”

It shows that the months of physiotherapy that Dottie has been doing at home, hospital and school is paying off.

Helen added: “We are hoping she will start doing it more now.”