A LITTLE girl who medics feared would never walk has blossomed into successful woman devoting her time to helping children.
Lorna Maddison has suffered more broken bones than she can remember.
Born with osteo genesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease, Lorna spent much of her childhood in a wheelchair.
In and out of hospitals across the country, doctors have tried all different procedures and medications to improve her condition.
Today, aged 19, she has transformed her life and is now studying at Sunderland University as well as working supporting some of the city most needy children.
Lorna, of Houghton, said: “It’s been a long haul, that’s for sure. But I’m doing well and feeling fine.”
Able to walk for the first few years of her life, at the age of five, Lorna fell and broke both her legs.
From that point on she was confined to a wheelchair.
During the course of the past 14 years, Lorna has undergone pioneering surgery in a bid to get help her walk again.
In July 2000, specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London carried out cutting-edge surgery to insert titanium to help strengthen her frail limbs.
The surgery enabled Lorna to take her first few steps and hopes were high the op had put her firmly on the road to recovery.
But the youngster suffered a setback when she fell down while out playing in the street, breaking her leg.
During a six year period of her childhood, Lorna suffered 16 breaks in her legs, arms and elbows.
When she was just six, Lorna told the Echo how hard it was to watch the other children enjoying their school’s sports day.
She said: “For the last two years, I’ve had to watch the other children running and doing the sack race.
“I wanted to join in, so I asked to hold the rope at the end of the running track for the other children to run through.”
By the time she was 11, Lorna was still fighting.
Refused a place at Venerable Bede School, she protested over her right to go to the school of her choice and won her appeal.
Since then she has flourished academically, going on to win a place on a psychology course at Sunderland University where she is now in her second year.
“I also work for Wearside Women in Need as a child worker,” added Lorna. “I started doing work for them when I was 15 and absolutely loved it.
“I’ve now got a real interest in child psychology.”
At 18, Lorna was discharged by the paediatric team of doctors that she had been working with from across the country.
Her condition is now managed by specialists at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital who she sees every year.
Lorna added: “People always tell me how brave I must have been, but I didn’t really have a choice. That was just my childhood.”