A TODDLER who was told she might never walk has amazed her parents by taking her first steps.

Three-year-old Hannah Dewhurst has the rare condition, Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, and had been unable to walk or feed herself.

Her parents, Anne and Mark Dewhurst, from Daisy Hill, thought they were going to lose their daughter when she was just eightmonths- old and needed to be resuscitated.

Hannah is unable to talk or feed herself and wears clothes for 18-month-olds due to her condition. She also has a cleft palate.

Cornelia de Lange Syndrome affects just one in 40,000-100,000 newborns and causes serious physical and developmental implications.

But brave Hannah has delighted her mum and dad by starting to walk.

Mrs Dewhurst said: “She will take just little steps. It was absolutely amazing to see her walking. It makes me very emotional as we didn’t know if she would ever walk.

“She is far more alert than she was and there is a lot more eye contact now. She can now do forward rolls and when she starts she keeps doing them. We may well have a future Paralympic gymnast one day!”

Hannah loves being hugged and having her arms or legs stroked — but is unable to return the hugs and kisses.

Mrs Dewhurst said: “The day when she gives me a proper hug and a kiss will be a very special one. It’s not easy having a disabled child. It’s wonderful but it is incredibly difficult.”

Readers of The Bolton News helped raise enough money for Hannah to continue receiving life-changing therapy at The Legacy Rainbow House in Mawdesley, Ormskirk, earlier this year.

The charity was forced to ask families of youngsters receiving support to each raise £3,000 due to funding cuts leaving the service in jeopardy. Mr and Mrs Dewhurst only needed to raise an additional £800 but well-wishers have boosted the total above £4,000.

Mrs Dewhurst, aged 43, said: “We have tried to write to everyone who donated, whose addresses we had, but we just want to thank everybody. The Legacy has been an absolute lifeline for Hannah.”

Funds are expected to be needed again in September but anyone who can give Hannah’s family a head start should visit JustGiving.com/ HannahsAppeal or send donations, marked Hannah’s appeal, to The Legacy Rainbow House in Salt Pit Lane, Mawdesley.