CARNOUSTIE twins Ayley and Chloe gave the Guide & Gazette a bit of a start this week when we popped round for an update on their progress, writes Johnston Ralston.
Standing outside the Hirsch family home in Carnoustie we were pleased to see Ayley at the window waving hello.
What shocked us was the fact that a few seconds later she had opened the front door and informed us that her mother was in the garden hanging up washing and would be just a minute.
Compare that to this time last year when she walked with crutches and her sister Chloe was in a wheelchair.
Following their successful fund-raising campaign, which realised £175,000, Ayley and Chloe were able to travel to St Louis in January for a selective dorsal rhizotomy which has significantly relieved the effects of their cerebral palsy.
Their mother, Averil, is understandably delighted with their progress. She said: “Their progress is fantastic. They’re working very hard every day. We’ve put it into a working week format so they can have the weekends off.”
According to Averil, the girls have exceeded their expectations. She explained: “The NHS physio Karen Blythe has cut Ayley’s intense physio sessions down a bit because she’s doing so well.
“Ayley is learning to run and jump. Those are her targets and she’s shooting right through them.”
The whole family got a shock when Karen decided to move Chloe on from the walker to crutches ahead of schedule, and was rewarded with Chloe walking a few steps.
Averil said: “We didn’t expect that until at least the beginning of next year, so she’s rocketed through that target.
“That was not something we were expecting from Chloe so soon. That was a big surprise for the family. It’s just nice it was in time for their fourth birthday.”
Since their operation the twins have taken on new hobbies, including horse riding at the Braes Riding Centre and swimming at Liz McColgan’s Health Club.
Averil’s brother, Chris Fleming, a qualified trainer, has also taken on some of the physiotherapy duties and they have been given the use of the dance studio at Liz McColgan’s.
On our website at www.guideandgazette.co.uk you can see a short video of Ayley and Chloe showing off their newfound mobility.