THERE is no stopping a little girl from Alderholt who is coming on leaps and bounds a year after people raised £50,000 for a life-changing operation to help her take her first steps.

Three-year-old Missy Hood has cerebral palsy and she needed selective dorsal rhizotomy, which involved surgery on nerves in her spine to straighten her toes and improve the movement in her legs, which were so stiff she could not walk.

The NHS only offers the surgery from age four, so last September Missy’s parents Lucy and Phil launched an appeal to raise the £50,000 needed to for Missy to have the operation in the USA.

With the help of Journal readers, the fundraising target was reached by Christmas, and in February this year the family flew over for the operation, where surgeons cut 67 per cent of the nerves in Missy’s spine.

Now her toes are straight and she has been having physiotherapy sessions two to three times a week as well as sessions at home with her mum to improve her core strength.

She has gone from not being able to sit or stand up to being able to stand up unaided and walk around with a K-frame.

“The last year has completely flown by and it is amazing to think how far she has come on,” said Mrs Hood, 25. “She has really opened up; she was really quite a chatty child to start with but now there is no stopping her. She wants to do what everyone else is doing.

“To be able to raise that much money in 16 weeks is phenomenal,” she added.

Missy goes to Kingswood Day Nursery three days a week, where she was recently able to take part in a ballet show, and swimming every Saturday.

Mrs Hood said: “She is now pulling herself to stand and leaning against the sofa to watch television, which a year ago was not even remotely possible.”

And her parents hope she willsoon be able to start using sticks to replace her frame.

Mrs Hood said: “I can’t believe the change in her, she has gone from a baby to a little girl.

“She has just blossomed and really done us proud. Everyone else has as well, the support from locals and the community has given her the best lease of life possible.”