A severely disabled young girl has stunned her family by walking for the first time at the age of eight – after taking up SURFING.
Little Madison Eddy was born three months premature and had spent her entire life in a wheelchair suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
She has now been hailed a medical miracle by taking her first steps shortly after completing a six week surfing course with charity the Wave Project.
And her proud adoptive parents Margaret, 57, and Ted Eddy, 58, claim it only happened because of her increased confidence gained out at sea.
Mrs Eddy said: “It was like a miracle. If you had said to me a year ago that Madi would be on a surf board in the sea, I would have said go fly a kite.
“But after going surfing with the Wave Project, she became so much more confident – and just a week after her course had finished she started walking for the first time.”
Madison, from Redruth, Cornwall, was severely disabled from birth with a bleed on her brain after being born at just 23 weeks.
She could not breathe on her own, and could only be fed through a tube.
Doctors had to perform an emergency tracheotomy to enable her to breathe, and she required further surgery later to repair her trachea.
She spent her first 18 months in hospital, before being fostered and later adopted by Mr and Mrs Eddy.
She was so disabled that doctors insisted on the couple doing 85 hours of medical training each before they would release Madi from hospital.
Wanting her to life as full a life as possible, they enrolled her in mainstream school and then discovered Wave Project, a surfing charity for vulnerable children facing exceptional disadvantage.
The organisation aims to improve children’s confidence by helping them learn to surf with the help of volunteers.
Mrs Eddy said: “At first I was very apprehensive about Madi being in the sea, especially as she couldn’t walk.
“We had to put our trust in the Wave Project, and I kept thinking ‘What happens if a wave comes over her?'”
Despite their anxiety they enrolled Madi on to a six-week surfing course with 9 other children in June 2015 with sessions taking place on Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, Cornwall.
Margaret admitted that they were terrified during her first lesson as she was taken out to sea in a specially adapted wheelchair.
She said: “As soon as she had done it, she wanted to go back in.
“By the second week she was pointing to the surf boards. She wanted to do the same as everybody else. So they put her on a board and went on with her.
“At first she sat on the board and they went on behind her, but by week six she was actually standing on the board. She stood up three or four times with the volunteers holding her.
“At one point she actually fell into the water and I was absolutely beside myself. But they picked her up just as soon as she had gone under. She was absolutely beaming.”
Less than a week after Madison’s surf course was over, she amazed her parents by taking her first steps unaided.
Margaret said: “We were at home and I was holding her under her arms, but she suddenly went forward on her own, fumbling towards the settee.
“She only took about two or three steps, but it was the first time she had ever walked on her own.”
“The next day, she was in school in the playground with her teaching assistant. Madi wanted to go somewhere and her TA said ‘hold on Madi’ because she was talking to another child.
“But Madi just let go of her hand and walked about eight steps.”
Mr and Mrs Eddy believe that the change in Madison came about because of her increased confidence from going surfing with The Wave Project.
Margaret explained: “The difference was confidence. Knowing that she could get up on that surf board, the same as everybody else, gave her the confidence to walk.
“I don’t think she ever thought she could go in the sea, let alone go surfing. But now she has realised that she can do whatever she puts her mind to.”