This is the heartwarming moment a Scots toddler unwraps a Barbie doll with a prosthetic leg and excitedly shouts: “Just like me.”
Little Carys Vaughan, from Fortrose on the Black Isle, received the special gift for her third birthday after bravely adapting to life without part of her leg.
The special moment was captured on film as she celebrated her big day last week and has been shared by the charity who have supported the family in recent years.
Her parents Ruth and Gareth, both 37, told the Record the Barbie has fast become a favourite toy for Carys, who was born with a deformity due to a rare condition.
Gareth said: “It was her birthday on Friday and it was a bit strange having a lockdown birthday for her when all you want is a party with your friends. But one of her gifts was the Barbie, which we’ve had since the start of the year and has been sitting in the cupboard patiently waiting for her birthday. She absolutely loved it.”
Ruth said: “She’s playing with her doll a lot and mostly pretending she can fly like a superhero.”
Carys suffered amniotic band syndrome in the womb, which can cause strands of the amniotic sac to separate and entangle limbs.
Pregnancy scans revealed a problem with the baby’s leg but her parents had to wait for her to be born to learn the extent of what was wrong.
Gareth said: “When she was born her right leg had a perfectly formed foot but it was hanging on by a thread. Her left foot was also affected and toes are missing.
“A couple of hours after she was born and stabilised they took her to intensive care and snipped the thread that was holding the foot on and took her to the children’s hospital in Aberdeen.
“Carys was just over 10 weeks premature and with that brought a few other health complications. She has holes in her heart and has spent a lot of the first years of her life in hospital.”
Despite her difficult start in life, the toddler has astounded her parents with her determination and is always trying to keep up with her big brother Ben, four.
Gareth said: “She spent the first seven months of her life in different hospitals having operations on her heart but when she started moving she just adapted and worked around it.
“She sees Ben running around and does get frustrated not keeping up with her pals, but she gets around well on her knees and nothing really holds her back.
“She also got a balance trike for her birthday and powers along on that. She’s very independent and strong willed.”
Carys has been fitted for a prosthetic but is waiting for surgery on her other foot before she can try adapting to a fully-functioning limb.
The operation has been delayed by Covid-19 but the family are optimistic about how she will adapt in the future and say the support of the Finding Your Feet charity has been invaluable to them.
Gareth said: “We bumped into them in the hospital in Glasgow when Carys was just a few weeks old and just knowing straight away there was help there added a lot of comfort, because it was a completely unfamiliar world for us.
“There is always someone to talk to who has been in a similar situation and there’s always support there. Everyone has a different story.
“It makes a massive difference, especially at a time when people are feeling isolated.
“The charity is a lifeline service.”
Finding Your Feet said they thrive on helping children like Carys embrace their differences.
A spokesman said: “We’ve found that it’s a massive help for the wee ones to meet their peers and other people who have lost limbs and have accomplished incredible things. It’s all about instilling confidence at a crucial point in their lives.
“It’s a bit like Carys getting the doll that’s ‘just like her’. We want anyone with limb loss or limb absence to know that they’re not alone. We say being ‘different’ is normal, and not only that, but something to be proud of.”