SIX-YEAR-OLD Sophie Thompson’s simple dream is to have “magic legs” and be able to play with her little brother Ryan.

Instead she has to crawl around her Bournemouth home or be carried by her parents, relying on a wheelchair and walking frame to move around at school.

Born prematurely at Poole Hospital, Sophie was diagnosed with spastic diplegia – cerebral palsy – when she was 16 months old.


Her mother Gemma, 26, said: “Our lives changed forever that day; it was a lot to take in.

“We were living in a first-floor flat and had to move to a new home which has been specially adapted for Sophie.”

Her dad Michael, 28, from Talbot Village, said: “Despite having tight muscles and permanently stiff legs Sophie pushes herself to the limit.

“She has had to spend most of her life on the floor.

“Her natural foot position is on her tiptoes. Without assistance she can’t walk, stand, run, jump, balance or climb and needs to wear splints to force her feet to the floor and have intensive physiotherapy every day.

“Despite being in pain Sophie never complains and is a beautiful, happy little girl.”

There is now hope that the inspiring St Mark’s primary school pupil could walk unaided.

She has been assessed by medical experts at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol and is suitable for selective dorsal rhizotomy, a spinal operation which could reduce the stiffness in her legs and give her more movement. Michael said: “It’s a big operation, with risks, but Sophie is at the right age for the treatment.

“It would improve her quality of life; possibly curing 90 per cent of the spasticity.

“The only thing standing in the way of her having a normal childhood is money.”

Gemma said: “The Dorset PCT is unable to fund the operation so we are determined to raise £40,000 to pay for the treatment and aftercare.

“The operation will change Sophie’s life forever and we are hoping that she can undergo surgery in July.”

The family has now launched a fundraising campaign for Sophie who excitedly told the Daily Echo: “After my operation I’m going to have magic legs and will be able to walk like Ryan.”

To make Sophie’s dream come true visit Donations can also be made by visiting, by text at SOPH75 to 70070 or by phoning 07999 456918.