‘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:

UPDATED: Fifty homes affected as burst water main causes significant flooding in Normandy Crescent in Oxford

Oxford Mail:

7:37am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

A WATER main has burst in an Oxford street causing significant flooding this morning.

Man appears in court over rape in Headington and sexual assault in South Park

Oxford Mail: oxford magistrates court

1:20pm Tuesday 23rd September 2014

A MAN has appeared in court charged with raping a woman in Headington over the weekend.

Police force will not lose 400 officers says chief constable despite police and crime commissioner claim

Oxford Mail: Sara Thornton

12:32pm Tuesday 23rd September 2014

THE Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police has said the force is not set to lost 400 officers despite claims made by Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld at the weekend.

UPDATE: Delays on rail services between Oxford and London after two killed by train in "suspicious incident"

Oxford Mail: British Transport police badge

9:55am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

There are delays on rail services to London after a two people were killed when they were hit by a train in Slough.

Man charged over rape at Headington flat and sexual assault in South Park

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:10am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

A MAN has been charged after a woman was raped in a flat in Headington on Saturday and another woman attacked in South Park on Sunday.

UPDATE: A34 reopens after car fire but congestion still severe

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

A ROAD shut after a car was engulfed in flames has now fully reopened.

Police step up patrols after third sex attack

Oxford Mail: Oxford area police commander Supt Christian Bunt

9:00am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

A THIRD woman in two days has been the victim of a sex attack in the city.

Funding for an extra 9,400 hours of home care at risk

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

ELDERLY people getting home care could miss out on an extra 9,400 hours of support a week if the county does not meet Government targets.

Search goes on for wartime bombs

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

POLICE continued their search yesterday at the house in Bicester where a haul of wartime explosives and munitions were discovered.

Politicians mourn loss of an energetic, warm personality

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

heartfelt tributes from all political sides were paid yesterday to Ann Ducker, the leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, who has died of cancer.

Biker seriously injured

Oxford Mail: Ambulance stock image

8:00am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

A biker has been taken to hospital with serious injuries after a crash.

Five hay arson attacks

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:00am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

Hay bales were set alight in five arson attacks last week.

Safe with cash taken when club is burgled

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:00am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

A safe containing cash was stolen after a Wantage club was burgled on Sunday.

Burglars fail over a supermarket break-in

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:00am Tuesday 23rd September 2014

Burglars were left empty-handed after breaking into a supermarket on Sunday.

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