They told her she'd never walk again, but a young girl from south London wouldn't take "no" for an answer.
In an exclusive interview with the Mirror, seven-year-old Thusha Kamaleswaran proudly revealed that she has taken her first steps since being shot in a store in south London two years ago. Using the help of a harness and treadmill, she defied previous prognoses, determined to get out of her wheelchair on her own.
"I want to dance around and play basketball with my friends," Thusha told the Mirror. "I want to travel around the world, too."
In March 2011, Thusha was caught in the crossfire of a gang fight that broke out in her uncle's store. A stray bullet landed in her spine, stopping her heart twice and paralyzing her from the waist down. According to the BBC, after a year of surgeries and extended hospital stays, doctors gave her a slim chance of ever walking again.
The shooting of the then-five-year-old sparked an outpouring of support. The detectives who worked on her case set up a trust to help cover her medical expenses, participating in fundraising challenges that have raised at least £185,000, the Press Association reports.
Shortly after she returned home from the hospital in May 2012, ITV caught up with Thusha and her family. The girl's family had made the conscious decision not to tell her the doctors' grim prognosis in order to keep the girl's hope alive. In the heartbreaking segment above, Thusha spoke of her desire to dance again and return to school, not knowing just how slim a chance she had at ever standing on her own two feet.
Perhaps being kept in the dark about her condition aided Thusha in her recovery. Ever optimistic, she has been undergoing intense physiotherapy for the past two years and performs hours of rehabilitation exercises every day, the Mirror reports.
"Thusha never gives up, she works so hard," her older brother, Thushan, told the Mirror. "Nothing will stop her from achieving her goal."