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From Sophie’s Tiny Steps to Giant Strides
Thursday 10th March 2016 @ 15:55 by Tom Greggan
Dukinfield News

Sophie Thomlinson is taking steps to recovery after a successful Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy operation in the United States in August.

Sophie’s family raised £50,000 through ‘Sophie’s Tiny Steps’ to get her across the pond and to pay for the surgery to reduce the spasticity in her legs. Sophie has Spastic Diplegia- a condition which meant she couldn’t stand, walk or run.

But now, thanks to the kindness of everyone who donated, Sophie is walking, running, jumping and even doing ballet!

However, Sophie’s family continue to raise money to fund her costly physiotherapy treatment and are just over £25,000 away from their £75,000 target.

It’s been an emotional few months for Sophie’s family as they have watched her tick off a list of firsts.

Her mum Allison said: “That evening after the surgery, the doctor asked her to wiggle her toes and that was the very first time she’d ever done it.

“I cried. Sophie was out of it but I cried. It was such a big milestone because she’s never been able to do it before.”

That was just the beginning as eight days later, Sophie took her first independent step- at the age of four.

First steps

“Again, there were tears all round,” Allison said, “Then it progressively got better. We were in the States for a month, having physio every day and then we carried on when we came home.”

Since returning home to Dukinfield, life has changed dramatically for the Thomlinsons. Allison explained: “Before, Sophie was only walking round on her knees so she had to be carried everywhere or she’d be in a buggy.

“If we went to the park or anywhere she had to sit in a wheelchair or a buggy. But now she’s just off so when we go shopping it can be two hours long because she wants to walk with me! She can reach things now because she’s standing so everything’s going in the trolley and you have to take it out. I can’t just pop to Asda anymore, I’ve got to take her and she wants to walk!”

She continued: “Around the house as well, like the toys she’s playing with now, the standing kitchen, she wouldn’t be able to do it before. She’d be on her knees and it would frustrate her so we bought her that when she came back from her birthday. Everything used to have to be at low level for her.

“It sounds awful but I’ve got my little girl that like every four-year-old, can do everything. When we go on days out now we don’t have to think ‘Well is it accessible? Is there things for Sophie to do?’ Because I know there’ll be something. So it’s little things like that.”

Sophie and Surgeon, Dr T.S. Park

Allison has continued to do daily exercises with Sophie and she does receive some treatment on the NHS- but not as much as she needs.

“That’s why we’re doing more fundraising and asking people for help,” Allison said.

Help has come in the form of Adrian Shaw, a family friend who after taking part in the Great Manchester Run last year, is looking to go one step further and run in the Manchester Marathon in April for Sophie’s Tiny Steps.

Allison’s hairdressers, Industry Hair Salon in Stalybridge, are also holding a fundraiser. On 3rd April, they are inviting twenty girls aged 4-10 for a pamper day where they can get their hair curled, nails painted and more. It’s from 11am-1pm and is priced at £6 a ticket. All proceeds will go to Sophie’s Tiny Steps so to book, contact Allison on 07719628264.

To read more of Sophie’s story and to donate, visit