A triple amputee has kind-heartedly donated 25 prosthetic legs to charity – to give children who can’t afford their own the chance to walk.
Brave Olivia Story was just two-and-a-half when she was struck down by meningococcal meningitis, losing both limbs below the knee and her left arm to the deadly disease.
When Olivia was little, her family raised funds to ensure she could always afford the limbs she needed, even if they weren’t available on the NHS.
This has enabled her to have everything from realistic skin and pink heels, to swimming flippers, a violin attachment and specialist running blades.
Now, Olivia rarely uses a prosthetic arm and she can manage well without.
The 15-year-old has one pair of legs she uses every day and a spare pair that can be used for parts if broken.
She has decided to keep her tiny baby legs but is donating all of the rest to a charity that helps amputee children living in Africa.
In total, she is handing over 25 legs, plus some prosthetic arms and attachments which is the largest donation that charity Legs For Africa has ever had in one go.
Olivia said: “I hope they go to some children that need them and can’t afford their own legs so that they can walk.
“It makes me feel happy because it will make other people happy too. I’d love to meet one of the children who get my legs to see how it has impacted their life.”
Olivia from Carlisle, Cumbria, nearly died when she was struck down by the deadly brain bug in July 2006.
Somehow she managed to fight off the disease but the septicaemia had ravaged her body, meaning doctors had no choice but to amputate her legs and left arm.
It was every parent’s nightmare and Miss Brown and father Mike Story, 43, feared their daughter would never walk or play like other children.
Over time Olivia became accustomed to wearing traditional flat-footed false limbs, gaining confidence and learning to walk all over again.
But as the years passed and Olivia and her friends started to get older, her playmates began to wear sparkly ‘princess’ heels at parties.
As the party invitations mounted, Miss Brown became concerned that Olivia was missing out on the joys of being a little girl. She spoke to doctors at Cumberland Infirmary to see what they could do.
Normally amputees would have to wait to be an adult to wear legs allowing them to wear high-heeled shoes, but prosthetic experts decided to make a special pair just for Olivia.
Mum Kim Brown, 39, business manager, said: “We’ve kept them, not really knowing what to do with them.
“Prosthetics are so expensive, we really wanted to give them to someone that would be able to use them.
“There was a poster in the Limb Centre at the Cumberland Infirmary showing a little girl in Africa wearing a prosthetic leg.
“I contacted Legs For Africa and they said they’d never had such a large donation in one go.”
Looking back at how far Olivia has come since her illness, Kim said: “I’m really proud of her. She’s really positive and that’s the only way to be.
“She doesn’t see herself as disabled. It doesn’t bother her and she doesn’t get upset.
“She’s got some really good friends and just enjoys her life.”
Meningitis is most common in children under five, those aged 17 to 25 and people over 55.
Meningococcal meningitis is the most common form of bacterial meningitis in the UK and it claims the lives of around five per cent of sufferers.