Although a birth defect caused her right leg to be amputated and has left her left leg in constant pain, a British teen is thinking about the future and giving back by doing a charity parachute jump.
Danielle Bradshaw, 15, of Tameside, Greater Manchester, was born with developmental dysplasia of both hips and a dislocated right knee. Her hips would frequently dislocate and her right leg was unstable. As a child, she underwent more than 12 surgeries in an attempt to improve her quality of life, but she was still reliant on a wheelchair.
Inspired by Oscar Pistorius— a double amputee who runs on racing blades— and soldiers coming back from Afghanistan, at age 11 Danielle asked doctors to remove her crippled right leg so she could take up running— and live a normal life.
“She’d never run, not even as a child… she’s never lived a proper childhood like other children do, going out and playing with friends,” her mother, Debbie Quigley, told FoxNews.com.
Running turned into a positive outlet for Danielle and she was able to meet other disabled people and find something she loved. She’s won medals, regionally and nationally, for running and the 100m sprint is her favorite race. When she was 11, Danielle met HRH Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace and was given an “Bravery in the Face of Disability” award.
But while she’s able to be active, her health hasn’t improved completely. For the past four years, she’s suffered frequent whole-body paralysis and she’s in constant pain. Because the tendons in her left leg have gone lax, she has to wear a brace and a shoe to keep her foot straight. She has a plate in the knee because the tendons aren’t supporting it. Danielle takes prescription painkillers to manage, but has difficulty sleeping because the pain is so great.
Now, Danielle has asked her doctors if she can have her left foot removed to relieve the pain and improve her quality of life.
“We thought when she had the other leg amputated, thought ‘this is it, now we won’t have more problems,’ then we got hit with this,” Debbie said. “She wants to live her life now, not when she’s old.”
Danielle and her family are waiting to hear back from her doctor and specialists, and hoping they’ll have word around Christmas as to whether she can undergo surgery.
While some have criticized her decision to have her remaining foot amputated as being driven by her athletic ambitions, it’s not a decision she’s taken lightly, her family said.
“This is to make Danielle’s health better, to give her a better quality of life,” Darren Quigley, her stepfather, told FoxNews.com. “This is what she needs, what she’s asked for.”
Danielle is planning a charity skydive on November 29, fundraising for Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust hospital, where she had her past surgery.
The family is optimistic that Danielle will have a bright future— one that will hopefully include the life-changing surgery.
“If anyone can go through with it, it’s Danielle. She said ‘I’m not going through life with this pain,’” Darren said. “She won’t be held back.”