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Special Prosthetic Legs Allow Olivia, 6, To Wear High Heels

March 25, 2010

A six-year-old girl who lost both legs is a real-life Cinderella after becoming the first child in the country to have specially-made prosthetics to wear to the ball.

Olivia Story was just two when she was struck down by meningococcal meningitis, losing both limbs below the knee and an arm to the deadly disease.

It meant she could only dream of dancing with her friends in a pair of sparkly pink heels at parties and thought she would always be different.

Olivia Story, six, can now dance with her friends at parties in a pair of high-heeled shoes Cinderella ending: Olivia Story, six, can now dance with her friends at parties in a pair of high-heeled shoes

But now medics have organised for her fitted with unique prosthetic legs made with special arched feet – allowing her to wear her favourite princess-style shoes at parties.

The £7,000 prosthetics were made from plastic, foam, wood and metal by a team of engineers and medics.

Mother Kim Brown, 29, said: ‘It’s a real Cinderella story, straight out of the pages of a fairytale.

‘My little girl can now go to parties and dance in her sparkly heels, just like all her friends.’ 

Olivia from Carlisle, Cumbria, nearly died when she was struck down by the deadly brain bug in July 2006.

Somehow she managed to fight off the disease but the septicaemia had ravaged her body, meaning doctors had no choice but to amputate her legs and left arm.

It was every parent’s nightmare and Miss Brown, 29, and father Mike Story, 32, feared their daughter would never walk or play like other children.

Olivia Story aged three Deadly disease: Olivia Story aged three after being struck down by meningococcal meningitis

Over time Olivia became accustomed to wearing traditional flat-footed false limbs, gaining confidence and learning to walk all over again.

But as the years passed and Olivia and her friends started to get older, her playmates began to wear sparkly ‘princess’ heels at parties.

But as the party invitations mounted, Miss Brown became concerned that Olivia was missing out on the joys of being a little girl. She spoke to doctors at Cumberland Infirmary to see what they could do.

Normally amputees would have to wait to be an adult to wear legs allowing them to wear high-heeled shoes, but prosthetic experts decided to make a special pair just for Olivia.

Miss Brown said: ‘I never thought I would see the day when she would wear high heels and dance at a party.

‘We spoke to the prosthetist at Cumberland Infirmary and they said they may be able to do something for her.

‘You can’t buy prosthetic legs moulded to fit high heels in a child’s size, but at that time they didn’t know what they were going to do.

‘Because they are all engineers in the workshop and all of their work is so intricate they were the ideal people to work out how it could be done.

‘They asked me to bring in the shoes she wanted and they carved down an adult foot to fit them.

‘This is the first time anyone has ever done this for a child, it took quite a few months before they were ready but we hadn’t told Olivia because we didn’t want to get her hopes up in case it wasn’t possible.’

Once the new legs were ready, Olivia was taken to the hospital after being told that a ‘big surprise’ was waiting for her.

Miss Brown said: ‘She was delighted and her face just lit up. I think in her heart of hearts she never believed she would ever be able to wear high heels.’

‘She looked like a pretty princess, she was such a happy little girl that day.’

Despite her setbacks, Olivia’s parents say she tries to be like any other child.

She loves to run, swim, go horse riding, jump on her trampoline and is about to take ice skating lessons for the very first time.

A spokesman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said they could not make any official comment on Olivia’s treatment.

Meningitis is most common in children under five, those aged 17 to 25 and people over 55.

In 2008, it is estimated that 2,200 people were struck down by the disease, resulting in 300 deaths.

Meningococcal meningitis is the most common form of bacterial meningitis in the UK and it claims the lives of around five per cent of sufferers.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Safae permalink
    August 5, 2012 3:27 pm


    I’m 17 and I’ve had prosthetic legs since the age of two. I’ve always wanted to be able to wear heels like all the other girls. A few days ago I watched a program about Olivia; I was really inspired and i was wondering what I have to do in order to be able to also have realistic limbs that would allow me too to wear high heels.

    I would really apprecite some advice.

    Thank you

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