A FAMILY from Colne are celebrating after their little battler took his first steps using prosthetic legs.
Brave Louie Jenkins, of New Bath Street, was forced to have his legs amputated below the knee when he contracted meningitis one year ago.
The tot, who is now 18-months-old, also lost fingers on his left hand and the tips of fingers on his right.
But showing just how far he has come, the youngster, who loves dancing and listening to music, has defied the odds and started to walk independently — leaving his mum Julie (30), dad Warren (31) and sister Francesca (6) delighted.
The next step, according to Julie, is to get the youngster, who regularly attends physiotherapy sessions, to stand up by himself.
Julie, who with the help of her family set up the Little LAMB (Louie’s Amazing Meningitis Battle) Appeal to raise funds for Louie, said: “It was fantastic, and it is really the next step. It is a wonderful thing to see.
“We have been doing quite a lot of work with his balance and his walker. We would never have thought that in a year he would be in this position.
“We always had it in our mind, but we didn’t think it would happen as quickly as it has done.
“It is a case now of getting the right legs for the right activities. “
Next week Louie, who started private swimming lessons late last year, will be visiting the hospital so that he can test a new pair of stronger prosthetic legs.
It is hoped that by the time he gets older, there will be enough money to buy specialist legs for when he wants to play sports. The legs are valued at around £7,000 each.
Louie’s story is regularly updated on the Little LAMB Appeal’s Facebook page, which was set up to raise awareness of the signs, symptoms and conditions caused by meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia.
Recently writing to Louie on the Facebook page, Julie said:“Something that has come from this disaster is our families strength to get through the tough times and teach people about what has happened to you and the signs and symptoms to watch out for.
“It is my dream that you will have the same strength that we have acquired and will grow up a confident young man who is very proud of everything he is and can do.
“Please ensure if someone around you is ill and suffering from flu like symptoms, keep an eye on them and check for meningitis symptoms.”
Also thrilled with the news of Louie’s progress is Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who said: “I know the story about Louie touched many people’s hearts and that it was touch and go whether he’d survive.
“I’m delighted to hear he’s progressing well with his prosthetic legs. I would encourage people to join the Facebook group and help support the LAMB campaign. I wish Louie and his family all the best for the future.”
To make a donation e-mail Julie on firstname.lastname@example.org