‘Amazing’ work of charity helps cerebral palsy sufferer Sienna defy doctors and walk

From left, mum Rosie Squires-Steptoe, Sienna, Michael and sister Hollie, three

From left, mum Rosie Squires-Steptoe, Sienna, Michael and sister Hollie, three Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

BRAVE Sienna Steptoe is standing tall despite being told she would never be able to walk.

At only five months, her parents were told by doctors at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital that she would never walk, talk or see.

Now the seven-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer’s beaming face shows the difference it has made to her life, thanks to five years of help from the county’s Footsteps Foundation.

The charity provided intensive physiotherapy and the use of a “spider” harness to get the Drayton youngster on her feet.

Dad Michael Steptoe, 41, said: “We are over the moon.

“It is absolutely amazing considering when she was born and diagnosed with brain damage we were told she wouldn’t walk, talk or see, she would have to just lie there doing nothing. We were determined we would prove the doctors wrong.”

For three weeks, three times a year, Kingfisher School pupil Sienna attends the Dorchester-on-Thames charity, with each session costing £1,500.

In 2011 the Oxford Mail reported how she was starting to take her first steps.

Sienna, who has a three-year-old sister Hollie, took her first 20 steps alone in November, and now can bounce on her bed and trampoline.

Oxford Mail:

Sienna in the ‘spider’ harness

Roof tiler Mr Steptoe’s cousin Gareth Cole, of Didcot, ran a marathon, and the charity has also contributed.

Mr Steptoe said: “It has made a 100 per cent difference to her. Before she was shuffling along on her bottom and was restricted to certain places. Now she can join in and play with other kids.

“It is life-changing, not just for Sienna but for us as a family. They have helped a huge amount. She is a very strong, determined little girl with a great zest for life.”

He added: “She has vision impairment, she wears glasses, but she can see. She can’t talk. That can be a little frustrating if she is ill or not happy.”

Mum Rosie Squires-Steptoe, 39, underwent a prolonged labour and Sienna did not breath for the first 10 minutes of her life, though the exact cause was never determined. The hairdresser said: “We always said the doctors were wrong, that we would get her to walk. Footsteps are the ones that helped her get where she is today. They are amazing.”

 

Speaking during this week’s Celebral Palsy Awareness Week, Jurek Puchala, a therapist for Sienna since 2010, said: “She is continuing to gain confidence and seems to be enjoying therapy more each time. Sienna is now taking precise steps and is generally more stable. She’s very active and enjoys walking, running and jumping.”

THE CONDITION

  • Cerebral palsy covers a group of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination.

The condition is caused by problems in the nervous system and the brain’s ability to control muscles, when there is a brain abnormally or it is damaged before, during or shortly after birth.
Causes include infections caught by the mother during pregnancy, a difficult or premature birth, bleeding in the baby’s brain, or mutations in the genes that affect the brain’s development.

Our top stories:

‘New £9.2m Leys pool’s too small for contests’

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Friday 19th December 2014

SWIMMING competitions planned for the new £9.2m pool in Blackbird Leys could be at risk due to lack of space, it has been warned.

Six 'all clear' women told they have cancer after investigation into Oxfordshire Breast Screening Service assessments

Oxford Mail:

7:40am Thursday 18th December 2014

SIX women who were given the all clear after breast cancer screening have been told they have the disease following an investigation.

Crash involving car and cyclist closes road in Blackbird Leys

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

12:30pm Thursday 18th December 2014

A collision involving a cyclist and a car has taken place in Blackbird Leys, closing a road.

Man 'exposed himself' to woman at bus stop in St Clement's

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:02am Thursday 18th December 2014

A MAN who exposed himself to a woman in Headington is being sought by police.

Voting public save the Jack FM Christmas turkeys from being butchered

Oxford Mail:

10:04am Thursday 18th December 2014

THE FATE of two turkeys on an Oxfordshire farm this Christmas was decided by an online poll by radio station JACKfm.

Oxford United's young guns relishing Manchester City clash

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th December 2014

OXFORD United’s rising stars will get a taste of the big time tonight as they attempt a giant-killing against Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup (7).

Candlelight vigil in Oxford for victims of Peshawar massacre

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

FAMILIES gathered by candlelight at a vigil for youngsters and their teachers targeted in a Taliban terrorist attack.

Work on Banbury Road footpaths to take place

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

Resurfacing of the footpaths alongside Banbury Road is set to take place this week after a gas leak.

Bail in Bullfinch arrest

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

A man arrested as part of Operation Bullfinch has been bailed.

Amnesty leads to 85 guns being handed in at Oxfordshire police stations

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

Eighty-five guns were handed in to police stations across the county during a two-week surrender.

Fairytale Wallingford panto a sell-out success

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 18th December 2014

IF you go down to the woods today...you won’t be able to get a ticket as this village panto is a box office sell- out.

Fracking in Witney would make Cameron ‘very happy’

Oxford Mail: NORTH VISIT: Prime Minister David Cameron at Ferguson's Transport in Cramlington

8:30am Thursday 18th December 2014

DAVID Cameron would be ‘very happy’ for fracking to come to Witney, he has told a Parliament committee.

County butchers say unusual festive fowl is on this year's Christmas menu

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 18th December 2014

WITH just a week to go until we’re tucking into our Christmas dinner, the turkey preparations are well under way.

What brilliant picture is in our Oxford Mail Advent Calendar today?

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014

December is Advent Calendar time and we have a special new interactive graphic for you each and every day until Christmas Eve. I've chosen the best 24 pictures of 2014 and I'll be unveiling one a day - so what is behind's today's door?

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree