A disabled toddler stunned her family by taking her first ever steps – after hearing The Proclaimers song ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’.
Three-year-old Inka Wood, three, suffers from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy which causes stiffness and tightness in the muscles.
It makes walking and standing very difficult and following her diagnosis an 18-month-old she was given a frame to help with her movement.
But she still struggled to manage even a few steps – until one day when she heard the Proclaimers hit ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’.
The song featuring the lyrics ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’ – and the famous tune inspired Inka to take her first ever steps.
Mum Holly, 31, and dad John, 34, were amazed when Inka suddenly got up and started walking after hearing the classic song.
The amazing moment spurred the parents to raise money for treatment which could eventually allow their daughter to walk independently.
It’s hoped that Inka, from Portishead, Somerset, will have the surgery funded by the NHS.
But she will also need intensive physiotherapy post-op – which costs around £30,000.
The family have already raised more than £12,000 and are now asking people to walk 500 miles to raise money – in tribute to the Scottish music duo’s impact on their lives.
Holly said: “We fought really hard for Inka to get a walking frame but she didn’t do too much with it – as the physiotherapist predicted.
“It was just really difficult to motivate her. But she loves music, so we would play all sorts of songs.
“We then put The Proclaimers on one day – and she just started taking steps. It was really quite amazing.
“It was incredible to watch. I was gobsmacked. She now says: ‘Put The Proclaimers on!’.
“I did play it because it’s a song about walking. It got her going. It was a really cool moment.
“It was just four or five steps.”
The Proclaimers – brothers Craig and Charlie Reid – said they were ”delighted” for Inka.
They said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear of this tremendous news.
”Congratulations to Holly and John for setting up the charity and we wish them and Inka all the very best for the future.”
Little Inka was born nine weeks prematurely, with scans quickly revealing she had suffered brain damage during birth.
She was then told she suffered from diaplegic cerebral palsy as an eighteen-month-old after several other setbacks – but never gave up.
She recently celebrated her third birthday on a pier in a nearby town, where she managed to walk an impressive 310m while being cheered on by her family.
Inka needs selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery to treat her condition, which can be funded by the NHS.
The life-changing operation will loosen the tightness in her muscles and involves removing a small piece of the bottom of the spine to reveal the nerve endings.
These are then stimulated to reveal the ones which are not working.
Once identified, the faulty endings are removed and allow the brain to communicate with the body properly – removing the spasticity and enabling the child to walk.
But she will also need months of intensive physiotherapy at a steep cost – which prompted her parents to launch the ‘This INKAredible Kid’ fundraising campaign.
Holly said: “Inka suffers badly with muscle spasms which do cause her a lot of pain. This operation will help manage that.
“We also know that, without it, she will probably never walk independently.
“We can’t guarantee it, but the surgery will remove the spasticity – so there’s no reason why she couldn’t. That’s the dream.
“We need her to build up strength for the surgery. We are just really hopeful.
“She’s managed to build up her strength to walk the full length of Clevedon Pier last week. That’s the furthest she’s ever been.
“There’s very strict criteria for the surgery. But we are hopeful after speaking to her neurologist that it will happen.
“We will still try and raise money for the surgery if she doesn’t qualify – absolutely.”
Inka is doing her own bit to increase the total – with her recent pier walk attracting donations of more than £1,500.
Those signing up to walk – any distance – will be given a superhero pack of a mask and cape to wear while walking.
Holly added: “The idea is not to only raise funds but also raise awareness of this condition which affects many children.”
The fundraising campaign to reach a combined total of 500 miles started on July 17 – Inka’s birthday – and ends on September 18, her due date.
People can find out more about the appeal and sign up to walk here: www.thisinkarediblekid.co.uk.
The campaign is also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thisinkarediblekid/.
You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/ThisINKAREDIBLEKid.
Inka has a nine-month-old brother, Ezra.