Miracle for one in a million three-year-old who faced double leg amputation
All Victoria Komada wanted was a pair of pink shoes.
Two years ago she faced losing both her legs and life as a double amputee.
She wasn't able to wear shoes as both legs were affected by a one in a million congenital deformity.
This week, three year-old Victoria arrived back home in Norwich after miracle surgery which has allowed her to walk for the first time.
The price her family paid was months of pain, tears and poverty. But their determination to save their daughter's legs led to an exceptional £180,000 raised for her treatment.
While the NHS insisted a double amputation was the only option, a surgeon in America promised the family Victoria would walk with her own legs.
The journey was brutal and expensive, but Victoria can now look forward to normality.
“We can breathe now,” said mum Marzena Drusewicz. “We can start a new life.”
Nine days after arriving at the Paley Institute in Florida last July, parents Dariusz and Marzena had to decide whether to amputate her right leg.
“The day before the first operation Dr Paley said the left leg is going to be perfect, but if you want to keep the right leg, she is not going to walk,” said Ms Drusewicz. “That day he asked me what was I going to do.”
During a gruelling nine hour operation Victoria's right leg was amputated above the knee and pins inserted in her left leg before a fixator was attached.
Over the next seven months Dariusz and Marzena had to twist six individual screws a few millimetres each day to coax the bones excruciatingly into place.
The pain and discomfort from the operation lasted weeks.
“That was a horrible time because she was crying all the day and the night,” said Ms Drusewicz, 31. “She was saying 'I've had enough, what are you doing to me?'
“One day I was thinking I wanted to pack our stuff and come back home. We weren't eating or sleeping properly and there was so much stress with Victoria.
“Week after week she was getting better and better.”
The second operation came in November, as bones in Victoria's left leg were fused together. Wires were inserted to strengthen her leg and prepare her to walk unaided.
Within just two days, the three-year-old amazed physios by taking her first steps.
Her progress was so astonishing she has returned home a month early.
“We couldn't believe how strong she was,” said Ms Drusewicz.
“They removed her cast and she started walking that same day. They said that has never happened before. They said she is the best they have seen.
“We were so happy when she took the first steps we started crying. We were on the way to the car and she said 'Mummy, I will show you something'.
“I went to carry her but she said to leave her alone.”
The family had a solid support network at Quantum House, making friends with families going through the same ordeal.
“We all carried each other through it,” said Mr Komada, 41.
“I still do not believe it. To go to Florida was the best decision.
“Every single step along the way she was so proud of what she could do.”
The miracle for Victoria was only made possible with the generosity of communities in Norwich and Szezcin, the family's old home in Poland.
Mr Komada's brother continued paying his wages while they were abroad, allowing the family to keep paying rent on their Norwich flat.
Victoria, meanwhile, will start school in September with some stories to tell.
“She has made lots of friends and now she is finally speaking English,” said Ms Drusewicz. “I am still angry about the amputation and ask why she has lost the leg.
“That is still hard to take but she is walking and that is a good thing.
“Dr Paley said she is going to walk from the very beginning. He wasn't lying.
“Now she is going to be able to walk and run, and do everything like a normal girl.
“It was horrible at the start but now I can say we are done, and we are happy.”
To everyone who donated she added: “Thank you. Sometimes there aren't enough words to describe the appreciation.”
Mr Komada added: “I am so happy. We have come home, and we can enjoy life now.
“Now she is normal and she can do everything she wants.
“She has lots of shoes now.”