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Girl, 9, Takes First Steps Being Told She Would Never Walk Again Following Freak Accident as a Baby


Every parent celebrates the accomplishment of their child's first steps, but for the Sawfords, watching their 9-year-old daughter walk for the first time was all the more emotional.

Tilly Sawford of Nottingham, England, was just 15 months old when doctors told her parents she would never walk again. She had fallen into a bathtub of scalding water, and had over 500 surgeries to treat her severe burns since the freak accident. Earlier this year, her leg was amputated.

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She was fitted for her first prosthetic in June, and practiced taking steps with the support of a frame and bars during physical therapy. Finally, little Tilly was able to take her first steps unassisted.

"I cried when she took those four steps on her own without her frame," her mother Emma Sawford told Caters News. "I'm so proud of her. She's so inspirational."

Sawford, a mother of five, recalled in 2009 that her 15-month-old daughter had been playing upstairs with her two older brothers when she suddenly heard screaming.

"I ran upstairs and Tilly was in the bath. Steam was rising from the bath and she had no skin on," Sawford said. "She looked like a raw piece of meat you feed a lion."

According to Caters News, Sawford and her family had just moved into the new home. The boiler had been malfunctioning and somehow heated the water to reach full boil in a matter of seconds.

One of her sons had washed his hands in the tub, having not been able to reach the sink. He left it running, and the tub started to fill up.

Tilly accidently fell into the tub, and when Sawford arrived, her daughter was already unconscious.

"I was on the phone to the ambulance, and her eyes started rolling back," she said.

Doctors said she suffered fourth degree burns to 86 percent of her body. She was also given a 5 percent chance of survival.

She spent the following six months in ICU, and the following seven years in and out of the hospital, during which time, her family was told she would die seven times. But somehow, little Tilly always pulled through.

Read: Farm Family Left Heartbroken After 3 Daughters Were Suffocated by Grain in Freak Accident

Last year, when blood stopped circulating to her right leg, the Sawfords were told the leg would have been useless, and the best option would be to amputate.

Despite what could have been a devastating fate, Sawford said her daughter Tilly has been happier since the amputation.

“She’s a lot happier now and just wants to run around with the other children," Sawford said. "She keeps telling everyone about her leg and she’s getting really excited about the future."

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