Being able to walk is something most of us take for granted. But when our daughter Elisa was two, she had a terrible limp and was eventually diagnosed with DDH. Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip is a condition where the ball-shaped part of the thighbone and the socket do not fit together properly. Early diagnosis (as a baby) is critical for successful treatment, and it is much more complicated for older children. We were left with the horrible feeling that the right treatment choice might help Elisa get back to normal, while the wrong one might damage her even further.
I am forever grateful for the fantastic support we received from Steps Worldwide, a UK-based charity set up to support parents of children with lower limb conditions including DDH, clubfoot and Perthes Disease. They offered moral support, having many ‘DDH mums’ among their staff and volunteers, but also supplied very informative digital brochures and even put us in touch with other parents. Our journey through the tough decisions we had to make, the numerous operations Elisa had to endure and the many casts she had fitted was extremely tough. However, Steps was with us all the way, helping us go from feeling lost and powerless to being part of a larger community which understood and valued us as a family.
I wrote The Squirrel's Tail to cheer up my daughter, when going through our journey with DDH. It was without a doubt the hardest period of my life, going through moments of hurt, recovery and even hope, which are the main themes of the book. Steps were a fantastic support throughout our journey. I am delighted to be supporting Steps during BRIGHT WEEK. Read more here.
Here is what Steps Charity Worldwide says about itself and the amazing work it does:
- Every day thousands of children are affected by a serious lower limb condition. These leg conditions vary in their symptoms, frequency and prognosis. But without the correct diagnosis, treatment and support, it would be impossible for any of these children to walk properly later in life
- We partner with national health systems and communities around the world to raise or, where necessary, establish medical standards, care and emotional support, giving everybody the opportunity to walk without pain
- We run a helpline for affected families, produce guidance for parents and healthcare professionals, and help families connect with others in similar situations to provide emotional support and share their experiences
- Steps was founded in 1980 by Sue Banton in the United Kingdom. Sue’s son Daniel was born with clubfoot and, at that time, there were limited support and medical options for families affected by the condition. She was determined to change this, not only for herself but for all the families and individuals facing the same challenges.