‘I have cried many happy tears!’

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CARNOUSTIE twins Ayley and Chloe Hirsch took their first steps this week.

As previously reported the twins flew to St Louis, Missouri, on January 6 and underwent their selective dorsal rhizotomies the following Tuesday.

The surgery was carried out by Dr T.S. Park, at St Louis Children’s Hospital.

Dr Park is a neurosurgeon with 20 years’ experience in performing these operations.

After spending time in a chemically induced coma to spare them any post-surgical discomfort, Ayley and Chloe woke to begin physiotherapy.

Mum Averil described their experiences to the Guide & Gazette.

She said: “It’s been an amazing first week in St Louis. The girls had their operation and Dr Park was very pleased with how it went.”

Averil added that seeing the culmination in a St Louis hospital of so many months’ work was quite a moving experience.

She said: “It was an emotional six hours for Frazer and I, but we got through it.

“Chloe had her operation first, then Ayley straight after her. They were in intensive care for a night and heavily sedated, which was hard to see.”

On Thursday morning the girls were gradually woken, and by the afternoon were awake and hungry.

Averil said: “Chloe had some macaroni cheese for tea and Ayley asked for cheese pizza. It’s a very good sign of recovery.

“The next day we were moved to Ward 12 and it’s been all good since then. I have cried many happy tears.”

The twins did not rest on their laurels and went straight to work.

Averil said: “They have started their physiotherapy here and both are doing amazingly well considering they only had their operations a week ago.

“Ayley is determined to walk, and has shocked us by doing so and Chloe has taken her first steps in her shiny new walker.

“We are so proud of them both. It’s a dream come true.”

On Sunday Ayley and Chloe were discharged from the hospital and returned to their hotel for four further weeks of intensive physiotherapy.

They were also fitted with leg braces which they will also have to sleep in.

Averil said: “It wasn’t as bad as we thought it might be.

“Chloe was a bit unsettled but fell asleep eventually and Ayley was a little stubborn to start, but she eventually fell asleep as well.”

The family recognise the continuing support they have had since beginning the campaign in February.

Averil said: “Every day we are so grateful for the Carnoustie support, and knowing that everyone back home is behind us keeps us going. We can’t wait to see everyone when we get home.”