Heartwarming footage shows a girl, three, taking her first steps with her prosthetic leg
Heartwarming footage shows a toddler taking her first steps with her prosthetic leg.
Marnie Allen-Tomlinson, now three, had her lower left leg amputated in October after enduring years of agony.
The youngster, from Derby, suffers from pseudarthrosis, which causes her bones to break easily.
Pseudarthrosis is a complication of the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF), which leads to tumours growing on nerve tissue.
Heartwarming footage shows three-year-old Marnie Allen-Tomlinson taking her firsts steps in her prosthetic leg after having her lower limb amputated due to a rare genetic disorder that causes her bones to fracture easily. Clearly reluctant, Marnie bravely manages a step forward
Marnie’s parents Samera Tomlinson, 31, and David Allen, 27, (pictured) made the decision for their daughter to have the surgery after doctors advised it would give her the best life possible
X-rays show Marnie’s broken leg, which she fractured at just 14 months old. The way her bones fused, along with the plaster cast, left her with one leg shorter than the other. Her parents were warned it could easily break again and she would face many more bone fusions
Around 10 per cent of NF patients develop tibial pseudoarthrosis, which affects the large bone at the front of the lower half of the leg.
Marnie fractured her leg at just 14 months old, which forced her to wear a splint to get about.
Strangers would even stare at her parents Samera Tomlinson, 31, and David Allen, 27, in disgust, assuming they had hurt her.
Her plaster cast stunted Marnie’s growth, leaving her with one leg shorter than the other.
Following doctors’ advice, the youngster’s parents decided amputation would enable Marnie to live the best life possible.
Ms Tomlinson, a healthcare worker, said: ‘We had no choice but to have Marnie’s leg amputated. It was terrifying but we knew it was the right thing to do after following doctors’ advice.’
After breaking her leg, Marnie spent the past two years wearing a splint to support her injured limb.
‘It was awful when Marnie broke her leg and ever since she has had to wear a splint to support her leg,’ Ms Tomlinson said. ‘The stares from strangers are heart-breaking. People assume we’ve hurt her.
‘And now because of the bone fusion, the plaster cast stunted her growth so one leg is shorter than her other. Her condition means it could easily break again.
‘She could have her bones fused five more times, but the chance of success is only 20 per cent.’
After going under the knife at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London, Marnie had her first prosthetic fit on November 29, before being given a customised, unicorn-embellished one on December 6.
Pictured left before the amputation, Marnie wore a splint to support her injured leg and help her get about. Strangers would stare at her parents in disgust, assuming they had hurt her. Shown right about to take her first steps, her mother says they are going at Marnie’s pace
Pictured left in hospital, Marnie’s condition means her entire body is prone to fractures and she has to be careful to stay stable while walking. Despite what she has been through, Marnie (pictured right before the operation while wearing her splint) still managed to raise a smile
Marnie was born with a bent leg (seen left), which doctors said would straighten out . She also had a faint birthmark on her limb (also left), which is common in neurofibromatosis. Marnie is pictured right in hospital wearing a cast, which caused one leg to be shorter than the other
The youngster was initially scared and worried the prosthetic would be painful. Ms Tomlinson added they are therefore slowly encouraging Marnie to walk a little bit further when she feels ready.
‘We are doing it at Marnie’s pace,’she said. ‘It’s going to be a long process but we will get there.
Marnie has to be particularly careful not to fall due to her condition putting her at risk of fracturing other bones.
‘Because Marnie has been used to hopping about we have now got to teach her to walk on both legs,’ Ms Tomlinson said. ‘She can take a few aided steps and is now relatively pain free.
‘I couldn’t be more proud of her and we’re looking forward to the future now.’
Marnie’s parents first suspected something was wrong when they noticed birthmarks on her legs.
‘Neurofibromatosis is like a tree,’ Ms Tomlinson said. ‘There’s so many branches coming from it. Bone deformities, epilepsy, and small birthmarks, just to name a few.’
Although she was born with a bent leg, the couple did not initially think it was serious, with doctors even reassuring the pair it would correct itself with physio.
But, at just 13 weeks old, Marnie was diagnosed with NF. ‘I went numb,’ Ms Tomlinson said. ‘I’d gone with my mum and it was clear I wasn’t taking in what the doctor was saying.
‘I did the worse thing possible when I got home, and googled it. It took a while but I reached out to a charity and got the information I needed that way.’
Dr Carly Jim, department of psychology at Manchester Metroplitan University and Trustee at the Childhood Tumour Trust said: ‘Neurofibromatosis type 1 is a condition that causes tumours to grow on nerve endings.
‘Whilst the thought of amputating your child’s leg is initially shocking we hear so many success stories of children thriving after amputation as they are no longer held back.’
Marnie is pictured left having her prosthetic fit on November 29 before she walked with it for the first time. She has since had a customised unicorn-embellished prosthetic made (right)
Pictured after the amputation, Marnie has a doll who also wears a prosthetic limb
What is Neurofibromatosis?
Neurofibromatosis is the name of a group of conditions that cause lumps to grow on the coverings of nerves.
There are two main types, the most common being Type 1 or NF1. It affects around one person in 3,000 to 4,000. There is no known cure.
NF is caused by a mutation in one of the genes. About half of the people who have NF have no family history of the condition.
This is called a spontaneous gene mutation. The other half of people will have inherited NF from their mother or father.
Some sufferers are affected by neurofibromas, which usually appear during adolescence.
These may first appear on the skin as a purplish mark, before a small fibrous lump appears.
They can also grow along deeper-seated nerves inside the body, which can be painful if knocked.
The lumps can increase in number during a person’s lifetime.
NF has also been linked to an increased risk of stroke if growths develop on nerve cells in the brain and cut off the organ’s blood supply.
There is no treatment to stop the lumps from appearing, although surgery or laser treatment can sometimes be used to remove them.