Thusha’s was a news story I originally didn’t want to watch. Grainy CCTV footage showed a five-year-old girl, bubbly and carefree, dancing in the aisles of her uncle’s shop in Brixton, London. The video cuts to a few minutes later where Thusha lies helpless on the floor, still. She was shot in the chest as three men tried to attack a rival gang member. Caught in the gunfire, she was paralysed.
This was in February 2012. Whenever news of the gunmen and their trial came on TV, I still didn’t want to hear. They weren’t sorry, and an innocent child who wanted to be a dancer wasn’t even able to walk.
Then a few weeks ago, the news broke that this same little girl had learned, against the odds, to walk again, with support from her parents. There was her face on my TV screen – smiling the biggest smile I had seen in a long time. She was ecstatic on her progress. She couldn’t stop smiling. She babbled on happily. This time I couldn’t not watch.
After enduring such a horrible attack, enduring two heart attacks after the event, and months of doctors shaking their heads over any recovery of movement, this beautiful little girl was smiling and walking.
Like Thusha, I hold the hope that one day she will be dancing again. Although the little girl who doesn’t stop smiling now has dreams of being a doctor.
More: see the smile on an ITN news report here