Brave Scots twins set to walk after miracle US operation

Ayley and Chloe with mum Averil are recovering well after spinal surgery



BRAVE Scots twins are set to walk for the first time after life-changing surgery in the US.

Ayley and Chloe Hirsch, three,  have been wheelchair-bound as a result of a crippling genetic condition.

Now  their parents are “on top of the world” after the girls successfully underwent highly-specialised surgery on their spines at a hospital in Missouri.

Averil and Frazer, from Carnoustie, Angus, raised £175,000 to send the twins to St Louis Children’s Hospital, which has a 100% success rate in performing the delicate procedure.

The twins suffer from cerebral palsy, a condition which meant the twins were born with reduced mobility and spasticity in their muscles.

The operation to remove damaged nerves in their spines took place on Tuesday this week and Averil and Frazer have been at the girls’ bedside ever since, anxiously watching them recover.

Averil, 35, said: “Both girls are very sedated but resting peacefully.

“They get their medication every four hours and they are both resisting a little because of the taste.

“What an amazing emotional day,” she added.

“I can’t wait for the girls to be up and moving around. I feel on top of the world for my girls.”

Following the news of the surgery’s success, Averil took to Facebook to update friends and family back home.

She posted: “Fantastic! Both our girls operations went very well and they are both in intensive care resting.”

That sparked scores of comments from relieved relatives and friends in Carnoustie.

Alison Duarte said: “So glad everything went well for Ayley and Chloe. Hope you and Frazer have managed to get some rest. The worst day is now over.”

Alistair Grant summed up many people’s thoughts when he said: “Super news to wake up to, nice cold sunny day here in Carnoustie. Can’t wait for you all to be home.”

Libby Devaney said: “Fantastic news. You must be so relieved to have it all over. Love and huge hugs to you all.”


The family jetted out to the US on Friday, four days before the surgery took place.

The procedure, called selective dorsal rhizotomy, has been carried out successfully in the hospital by famed surgeon Dr T.S Park for the past 20 years.

The twins will be in intensive care until they have recovered enough to be moved to a regular hospital room.

They will then undergo a further three weeks of treatment before they can make the journey home toScotland.

According to the family, Dr Park has predicted that Ayley could be walking properly before the family get home.

He also said that Chloe will walk with a frame and progress to walking with a crutch.

Averil and Frazer’s battle to raise funds for the life-changing surgery for the disabled twins began in February last year.

A target was set to raise £80,000 for the surgery but over £175,000 was eventually raised for the Hirsch family.

In November 2010, Dr Park worked on another Scottish toddler suffering from a similar condition.

Jack McNaughton from Almondbank, nearPerth, is also able to walk for the first time after the surgeon eliminated the pain and spasticity in his spine.

Averil was unaware of the surgery until she read of Jack’s progress in the local press and contacted his parents, Stacey and Graham.

The Hirsches were invited to the McNaughton home to see Jack’s remarkable recovery- which convinced the twin’s parents that they must undergo the surgery too.