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Brave Izzy Sees for First Time

Happy families ... James Evans, Izabelle and Hollie McHugh

LITTLE Izabelle Evans who was born blind has seen her mum and dad for the first time at the age of FOUR ?thanks to a miracle procedure carried out on the other side of the world.

Brave Izabelle can now see up to three feet and recognise her parents' faces following groundbreaking stem cell treatment.

Generous family and friends raised ?0,000 to send the youngster to China to help her see again.

Delighted James Evans and Hollie McHugh said nothing could beat the feeling of the first time their daughter looked into their eyes after the treatment and said: "Mummy" and "Daddy".

Hollie, 24, of Hayling Island, Hants, said: "The results were better than we could ever have dreamed of. If you walk past Izabelle now she can look up and see you and say 'hiya'.

"It is amazing because doctors here said she couldn't see anything at all before we went."

Izabelle was blind from birth after being born with Septo-Optic Dysplasia ? a condition which affects just five in one million babies ?and also causes hormone deficiency and mobility problems.

After the family launched an appeal to help her see, ?0,000 was donated in just over a year ?enough to realise their dream of sending Izabelle to China for the pioneering procedure.

Her parents had hoped the controversial stem cell treatment ?which is not available in the UK ?would improve her sight, speech and mobility but have been stunned by her progress.

Hollie said: "We've seen lots of changes. Her speech has improved a lot. Before she went she could only say one or two words but now we can have a little conversation with her.

"Her walking has improved and she can support her own weight on her legs now.

"Because she has not used her eyes before we have to remind her to use them. She went back to school and they have seen a difference too. She picks things up and holds them close to her face.

"A couple of days after we got back I put the Christmas tree up and she reached out to grab for the lights.

"Last year she wasn't even aware we had a Christmas tree so it's just amazing and I can't wait for her to open her presents and experience it all for herself for the first time.

"We're just over the moon and so, so happy. It is better than anything we expected and we can't thank everyone who helped us enough. We are so grateful and so happy for Izabelle."

The month-long stay in China's Qingdao Chengyang People's Hospital was not easy for the family.

Izabelle had to endure the gruelling treatment with just two days off a week and often became very upset and her parents found it hard to see her in pain.

Izabelle also had acupressure, standing therapy, physiotherapy and electric wave therapy to stimulate her tight muscles to move which is another aspect of her condition.

Dad James, 24, said: "We're going to wait six months because the stem cells continue to work for six months if she stays healthy.

"We're going to keep an eye on her, see how her vision is, and then decide if we'll go back out there again and see if we can improve even more."

Source The Sun