IT’S going to be the best Christmas ever.

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Those were the words from proud grandad Brian Lawrance after his seven-year-old granddaughter Brooke Lawrance underwent pioneering surgery in America.

The brave youngster, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby and had to use a wheelchair, had the life-changing selective dorsal rhizotomy operation at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri just under a month ago and has since taken her first steps.

Speaking from his home in Ramsgate Drive, Ipswich, Mr Lawrance said: “I’m just over the moon, so happy and so proud of Brooke.

“She is working so hard in America and her consultant Dr Park and physios are so impressed with her and how well she is doing.

“The doctors are saying she will be able to walk independently around at home to start off with before progressing further. Our little darling is working so hard, even through the pain.”

Since the operation Brooke, who spent her seventh birthday in hospital, has been able to do things she couldn’t before such as side-stepping and walking up steps.

The whole Lawrance family, including mum Sarah, dad Peter, sisters Nadine and Neve and brother Samuel, have been in America since early November before Brooke’s operation took place on November 15.

She underwent a second orthopaedic operation on her heel chords on December 4 and is on a gruelling course of physiotherapy to get her on her feet.

The family, who live in Morland Road, Ipswich, received an early Christmas present when Mr Lawrance’s wife, Gill, 53, flew out to the States to surprise her grandchildren.

Mr Lawrance, 56, added: “Gill flew out on Saturday and it was a big surprise for the grandchildren because they didn’t know a thing.

“They were told by Sarah and Peter that they were going plane spotting for the day and then Nanny arrived and they couldn’t believe it.

“As soon as Brooke saw her, there was a beaming smile on her face.”

The Lawrances are due to fly home on Saturday – and Mr Lawrance cannot wait to seem them all.

“I’ve been seeing and speaking to them everyday on Skype but it’s just not the same as being there.

“It’s going to be the best Christmas ever with us all together.

“It just means so much to us all and it’s going to be extra special this year.”

The family has been fundraising for the £70,000 needed for the surgery and to make Brooke’s dream come true since October last year.

Visit www.justgiving.com/brookeswishtowalk to donate.

n Send your messages of support for Brooke to Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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