A FIVE-year-old girl, who defied doctors to take her very first steps, continues to astound her parents with her determination to walk without help.

In 2016 – thanks to a huge fundraising drive – Ava Evans, of Prestatyn, was able to fly to America to undergo a life-changing selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation.

More than £89,000 was raised through the campaign, backed by Journal readers, to send the Ysgol Penmorfa pupil to St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri for a procedure that can help relive leg stiffness.

Ava was born was born nine weeks premature and suffers from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.

Her parents, Joanne and Todd, were told their daughter might never walk, but Ava continues to amaze; in December, she made her own way on to the stage for her school concert, using just her stick and the handrail, and at home Ava is impressing by making her way around her home without walking aids.

Much to the delight of mum and dad, she is also running around with her sister, Scarlett.

Joanne said: “She has come on enormous amounts and in the home, she walks around with no walking aids at all. She does have falls, but she gets straight back up.

“She and her sister run after each other all the time, something which we dreamed of happening.

“Ava is doing really well at the moment. She still has a long way to go but she isn’t giving up. When she is in school, she uses single sticks in class and [for] her walking outside. She is continuing to work with her physios every week and now also goes to swimming lessons. We are so grateful to everyone who helped her get this far.”

Meanwhile, Ava has played an angel in her school concert.

“Previously, she has always had to be carried on stage but this year she walked,” her mum added.

“She walked in with her single sticks and then walked up the stairs just using one stick, holding on to the handrail with no help at all. She even got herself up to standing with no help from anyone to sing her song.

“We took her to the park over Christmas where she was walking around on her own with no aids, something we dreamed of prior to the operation.

“She amazed us every day. She doesn’t let anything stop her.”