A bullied woman with a rare genetic condition has spoken out after relearning how to walk 10 times following doctors’ words that she would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life.
24-year-old Sarah-Louise Walker from Middlesbrough, England, was born with a syndrome that left her hips and elbows protrude further and prevented her kneecaps from fully developing.
When the girl was only 2 years old, the doctors told her parents that she’d never walk and that she will be bound to a wheelchair forever.
After entering the school, the kids would often bully Sarah and call her anything from “peg leg” to “disabled girl” for being different than them.
During her youth, Walker underwent ten operations in which frames were attached to her legs to strengthen the muscles.
With the help of her 45-year-old mother, Helen, the girl relearned how to walk after each surgery. While she still relies on wheelchair sometimes, she is now also able to walk on her own for a short time.
“I have always refused to let my condition define me,” she said.
“And my mum was a fantastic role model for me, she was determined that I would make something of my life.
“I was born with missing muscle in my legs so I couldn’t bend them properly. This meant they were permanently locked until I was 14. Due to the lack of muscle, I was unable to walk as my legs weren’t strong enough.”
The nail-patella syndrome, which Sarah shares with her brother and sister, is a genetic condition inherited from one of the parents.
“Thankfully, mum was determined that I would be able to have as normal a life as possible,” the 24-year-old added.
“After I got my casts off my legs when I was one, she kept teaching me how to walk, gently coaxing me around the house. I was two when I finally took my first steps.
“Bullies called me ‘peg leg’ and ‘disabled girl.’ Being bullied upset me but I learnt to brush it off. I realized that people usually act negatively when they don’t understand the circumstances.”
Despite her condition, Sarah loves life and doesn’t allow her disability to hold her back from achieving her dreams.
“I’ll never let my disability hold me back. I’ll need another operation soon on my club feet, which is a common symptom of my syndrome. But I won’t let it affect me.
“One day I hope to be able to ride a bike and be able to walk down the aisle on my wedding day,” the brave woman added.
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