CARNOUSTIE twins Ayley and Chloe Hirsch started yet another new chapter in their lives on Tuesday.
The youngsters underwent major surgery performed by Dr T.S. Park at St Louis Children’s Hospital in January. They suffered from a form of cerebral palsy which severely restricted their ability to walk.
Before the operation - a selective dorsal rhizotomy - Chloe was confined to a wheelchair and Ayley had to use a walking frame.
But this week the pair returned to Carlogie Nursery School, Carnoustie, looking forward to the new term.
Chloe was able to walk with just sticks for support and Ayley walked without assistance.
Mum Averil Hirsch explained that Ayley no longer has to wear splints as she has made such good progress and now simply uses inserts in her shoes to help her walking.
“That is absolutely great,” she went on, “as we thought she would have to continue wearing her splints until next year or even the year after.”
She said that both girls still have to undergo a lot of physiotherapy. “They go riding and swimming a lot and it’s all having a positive impact. They also work on a treadmill and a leg press at home.”
After their first day at back at nursery she stated: “The girls had fantastic day back at nursery meeting all their new friends. They were exhausted as they had physio straight after nursery and then went to the beach park.”
Averil revealed that the family is heading off to London next month to visit an orthotics clinic where the progress of both girls will be further assessed.
“Life is hectic,” she said. “We go swimming at Liz McColgan’s gym and then riding at the Brae Riding School. I also have lots of equipment in the house so the girls can do exercises regularly.”
The battle by parents Averil and Fraser to raise money to send their daughters to America for the life-changing operation caught the imagination of folk in Carnoustie and beyond and the target of £80,000 was doubled and £175,000 was the eventual total raised.