Miraculous Maya takes her first steps as her remarkable recovery continues - and she’s now aiming for her biggest fundraising challenge yet


After surviving spina bifida, a swollen brain and meningitis, Maya Ratcliffe’s parents were told she would never walk again.


But almost five years and a number of operations later, the incredible toddler from Whittlesey has taken her first steps on her remarkable road to recovery – and is now aiming to tackle one of the UK’s tallest peaks.

Maya underwent a double hip reconstruction in November last year and despite doctors telling her parents, Fay Dovey and Aaron Ratcliffe, it was unlikely she’d ever be strong enough to walk, Maya has now mastered rolling, crawling and has taken her first steps with the help of a walker.

Fay said: “When we were sat in her surgeon’s clinic nine months ago he was very doubtful that she would ever be strong enough to stand, never mind take steps.

“Her grit, determination and can-do attitude are what made her keep trying and keep doing her programme of several hours’ therapy a day. We are so proud of her.”

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Maya’s incredible journey is set to continue next month when she takes on her first ever wheelchair race at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

However, Maya and her parents are aiming a lot more ambitiously and are planning on travelling to Wales in March to tackle Mount Snowdon to raise money for spina bifida charity, SHINE.

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“We are finishing a spectacular year of fundraising by climbing Mount Snowdon in March next year,” Fay said.

“We plan to use a combination of her wheelchair and a backpack carrier to make it to the summit. Maya said she wanted to see the world so we are showing her.

“She is developing in to a happy, caring, loving little girl that loves to dance, sing, swim and paint. She is so full of character and life she never fails to amazes us.”

Maya’s fundraising mission will also see her celebrate her fifth birthday at the SHINE Golden Firewalk in Thorney, before she sets off on a charity walk from Bolton Hospital to Manchester Children’s Hospital – a route that is very special to her family.

Fay said: “On November 13 2011 Maya had meningitis and was fighting for her life. The route is a very similar to the route that the ambulance took her to PICU at Manchester Children’s Hospital to receive the life-saving medical treatment she required to survive.

“We are hoping our efforts will help raise awareness of spotting the signs and symptoms of meningitis early, especially as many of the symptoms can look like a common cold or flu during the winter months.”

• The Vine Pub in Coates is holding their second annual Doubles Petanque day on Sunday August 28 in aid of raising equipment for Maya.

Last year the event raised enough money to buy Maya her first wheelchair, and funds raised this year will go towards a specialist car seat, tables and therapy.

The day begins at 9.30am and all are welcome.

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