Battling South Tyneside youngster Imogen Carr has fought back from another operation - and proved yet again that nothing gets her down.
Just four months ago, the seven-year-old from South Shields had to have part of her left leg amputated below the knee. She fought back and learned to walk again within ten weeks.
But now, she has had to have more surgery. She was back in hospital last Friday for an operation to trim the bone after she had a growth spurt.
Experts are waiting to see if her prosthetic limb will still fit her left leg .... or whether she will need a new one.
In a devastating twist, Imogen’s return to hospital came just days after she had learned to walk all over again.
She absolutely loved it. She didn’t stop cuddling her award all night. She kept asking me ‘have I won?’ and I was saying ‘what’s that you’re holding?Jeni Carr
Mum Jeni Carr, 27, said: “She got so close to walking unaided. They were just about to take her last walking stick from her.”
And although it has put Imogen’s progress back, the brave youngster just gets on with life in the best way possible - with a smile on her face.
And it’s that incredible outlook which saw her crowned as one of five Children of Courage at the Gazette’s Best of South Tyneside Awards.
It was a timely boost for Imogen who was at the glittering awards finale, just days after coming out of hospital.
News of her setback was shared with the Gazette by Jeni, who said: “Imogen had a growth spurt and, with her below-the-knee amputation, the bone is still growing.”
But the rate of her growth has astounded even her own family and Jeni said: “Normally it doesn’t happen this quickly.”
Imogen’s latest operation was a ‘bone revision’ at Sunderland Royal Hospital. It’s a process which involves trimming the bone as Imogen grows and her family have to constantly monitor the bone in her leg for any change which may require further surgery.
“She never gets anything easy,” said Jeni. “It’s constantly going round in circles until she stops growing and she is facing a lot of operations yet.”
But that’s nothing new for Imogen who has faced health battles all her life. She was born with club feet and vital tendons missing. She had bilateral club feet and amniotic band syndrome.
She lived pretty much her whole life in cast up until May this year when sadly she had to have her left foot and leg amputated from below her knee.
Amazingly, she has fought through it all with a determination to defy the odds.
Imogen was a winner at the best of South Tyneside Awards. She lapped up the atmosphere of her big night and Jeni said: “She absolutely loved it. She didn’t stop cuddling her award all night. She kept asking me ‘have I won?’ and I was saying ‘what’s that you’re holding?”
Just like Imogen, four other amazing children got a Child of Courage Award.
* Bryony Murtaugh, 10, survived the Manchester Arena terror attack and then fundraised for worthy causes in the borough including the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.
Proud mum Cheryl McDonald said: “I am so proud of her for everything that she has overcome.”
* Roman Hansen, dubbed ‘little smiley-pants’ for his amazing courage, is tackling a rare cancer called pleuropulmonary blastoma at seven months old.
His granddad David Burch accepted the award on his behalf.
He said: “It is excellent that he has been given this award and I am so proud of him.
“He is a little smiler.”
* Five-year-old Toby Horner has a complex mixed form of cerebral palsy but still manages to make everyone smile with his sense of humour, and caring and loving outlook on life.
Dad Adam said: “He is our hero but to get recognition like this is something else.”
* Gracie Gillies, seven, continued to follow her dreams of dancing despite a life-changing diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.
Mum Louise said: “It is lovely that all the children won. They are each fighting their own battle.”
Watch out for more interviews and photographs from the Best of South Tyneside Awards night in a special eight-page supplement.
It’s in your Shields Gazette on Wenesday, September 26.