Courtney's First Steps
||05 July 2009 07:00
|Show: ||Carte Blanche|
One year ago, Carte Blanche visited Courtney Ellerbeck at her home where she was recuperating from yet another operation to stabilize her spine, pelvis and legs.
[Carte Blanche 22 June 2008] Derek Watts (Carte Blanche presenter): Derek: "And one day you want to€¦"
[Carte Blanche 22 June 2008] Courtney Ellerbeck: "Walk!"
Many thought walking was a long shot for the little girl who came into the world two months premature - and a paraplegic. In March 2000, her mother Lesley Ellerbeck, 7-months pregnant with Courtney, was shot in the stomach in a hijacking. Courtney became South Africa's youngest victim of crime. Over the past nine years, Carte Blanche has followed her progress. We were there when she learnt to swim and when Courtney said she would ride a bicycle.
[Carte Blanche 22 June 2008] Lesley Ellerbeck (Courtney's mother): "And I said But you can't pedal!' She said, I'm going to!'"
And we followed this brave little girl through operations to straighten and strengthen her spine, hips and legs.
[Carte Blanche 22 June 2008] Courtney: "Sharp!"
An aspiring chef, we even accompanied her to Durban to rub shoulders with some of the world's best foodies.
[Carte Blanche 2 November 2008] Reza Mahammed (Chef): "That's very good..."
But when Courtney turned nine this year she had only one wish.
Lesley: "I always used to tell her, walking is overrated because too many people do it. She's had the dream since she was three she kept saying, I is going to'."
Inspired by Courtney, generous members of the public donated the money needed to make her dream a reality. Last Saturday, for the first time, she walked. She was aided by a set of calipers made especially for her in the United States.
I couldn't believe how tall she was and when she took her first steps I just started laughing I didn't know whether I should cry or scream or laugh - so I decided to laugh.
The calipers support Courtney's feet, legs, hips and chest.
Lesley: "Once these lift up it bends her legs so to sit. These ones go all the way down into her shoe which keeps her foot at a 45 degree angle."
It took a couple of days, but what did Courtney do once she got use to the calipers?
Courtney: "Walked and walked and walked..."
For this little girl another dream has come true.
Courtney: "I'm walking."
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:While every attempt has been made to ensure this transcript or summary is accurate, Carte Blanche or its agents cannot be held liable for any claims arising out of inaccuracies caused by human error or electronic fault. This transcript was typed from a transcription recording unit and not from an original script, so due to the possibility of mishearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, errors cannot be ruled out.