05 September 2017

WATCH: Quadruple amputee toddler takes first steps on prosthetic legs

Harmonie-Rose Allen's parents never expected her to walk – but she triumphed over her disability and proved them wrong.

Harmonie-Rose Allen was just 11 months old when both her legs and arms were amputated because she became gravely ill from meningococcal septicaemia. Her parents, Freya Hall and Ross Allen, could have lost all hope of her ever being able to take those first few steps when she got older, but Harmonie-Rose proved otherwise.

Recently the family has shared a video of the the now 2-year-old fighter walking with prosthetic legs for the first time. It has since been viewed almost 30 000 times. 

The heart of a warrior

Harmonie-Rose had been through numerous physiotherapy sessions, where specialists tried to help her get used her prosthetic legs. For a long time, she needed assistance when walking in her prosthetic legs.

She even had a walker, specially made to hold her frame. She had spent a lot of time in the walker, but the victory that made her mom scream with elation was when Harmonie-Rose took her first few steps on her prosthetic legs. Here's the video:

A fighting spirit

Even though the she had lost her arms, her legs and the tip of her nose, it didn’t put a damper on her fighting spirit. Earlier this year, she got up on to her stumps and began waddling with a little pram, which blew her parents Freya Hall and Ross Allen away. Freya even live streamed her daughter’s achievement on Facebook.

Harmonie-Rose initially had some difficulty adjusting to her prosthetics – she found it difficult to become comfortable and find her balance while wearing them – but it wasn’t long before she had honed her skills and was standing on her own.

Pushing through the pain

She had been through several physiotherapy sessions, where specialists tried to make her comfortable using the prosthetics. Harmonie-Rose would waddle around in a special walker, trying to master something many of us take for granted.

Freya and Ross were able to take the walker home so that Harmonie-Rose would be able to practise walking, hoping it would become second nature.

Education and persistence

Freya and Ross urge parents to educate themselves about the various symptoms their children are experiencing so that they know what to do and where to go in order for their children to receive the best care possible.

Initially, Freya thought Harmonie-Rose just had a simple illness; they thought she just had a common cold, but the day where her daughter was breathing differently, she knew it was more than just a cold.

Freya and Ross told the BBC that they had taken their daughter to hospital one night when she woke up struggling to breathe. The hospital staff said they couldn't find anything wrong with her and proceeded to send her home.

They took her back the next after she had suffered convulsions, but again, the found nothing wrong and sent them home. Later that day, Freya and Ross took her back to the hospital because she had become lazy and developed a rash-like bruise on her nose. Her legs and arms had also turned black by the time they had reached the hospital.

Preparing for the worst

After a number of tests were run, doctors discovered Harmonie-Rose had contracted a rare form of meningococcal septicaemia and that they would have to amputate both her arms and legs.

There was little hope that she would survive.

The rash-like bruise, which first started on her nose, had proceeded to cover her whole body. Hospital staff said it was one of the worst cases they had ever seen.

But Harmonie-Rose defied the odds and after spending weeks in ICU, things were looking up for her. She began learning how to do basic things, like turning the page of a hard-board book with her stumps and beginning to speak.

Freya told BBC news that she is so impressed with Harmonie-Rose's progress. She knows that her daughter still has her bright mind, even though she has had meningitis, which could cause damage because of swelling around the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms and treatment

Meningitis Now says that if someone is ill and not getting better, you should seek medical help immediately. And an important message they place great emphasis on is that you should not wait for a rash before going to a doctor.

The organisation lists the following as symptoms of the illness:

  • Fever
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Pale skin, accompanied by a rash
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe headache
  • Seizures
  • Inability to handle brightness

Another trick the website mentions to identify meningococcal septicaemia is the glass test. If a rash does not disappear, or at least become less prominent under the pressure of the glass being pressed against it, could be a sign of meningococcal septicaemia and you would need to seek medical help immediately.