A splashy New Year for young Ganaya

And no-one could have been happier than her proud mum, Jayshree, 38, who was at her bedside in September when she underwent a selective dorsal rhizotomy at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

It has allowed the Year 1 Bramingham Primary pupil to walk unaided for the first time since she was born premature five years ago and diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The operation is available on the NHS but there was no guarantee when it would go ahead. Jayshree appealed for help when she was advised it should take place as soon as possible and the local community raised the required £30,000 in record time.

The mother-of-three from Turnpike Drive told our sister paper, the Herald&Post: “It was amazing, but also quite emotional that so many friends and people we didn’t even know supported us.”

Ganaya has recovered well and her delighted father, pensions analyst Punit, 44, decided to whisk the family away for a dream holiday over the festive season.

Jayshree says: “We definitely needed the break. These past few years have been tough on all of us - Ganaya, her older sister Divashya, younger brother Surya and me and my husband.”
The tears well up when she talks about all the pain her little girl has endured with such amazing courage and grace. Wiping them away with the heel of her hand, she says: “Ganaya brings out the best in everyone. She’s really chatty and full of joy. She’s so happy and is such a character. She’s very determined and has had a fighting spirit from Day One.

“How can a small child go through so much and still be full of smiles? She’s always proved the doctors wrong. They’ve never seen a child pull through so many times, the way she has.

“She’s my inspiration – I get my strength from her.

“She’s like a little celebrity – the whole school came to a standstill when she went back after the operation.”

Ganaya will need physiotherapy four times a week for the next three years. Now she’s able to walk, she wants to do ballet and she’s desperate to run – even though she still has balance problems.

This engaging little girl, with her long pigtails, says she wants to become a surgeon: “So I can help other children like me.”

> Now watch Natalee Hazelwood’s enchanting video at www.lutontoday.co.uk