IT’S THE Christmas present they all wished for.

For the first time little Megan Vernon will be walking on her heels to collect her presents from underneath the tree on Christmas morning.

The nine-year-old is back home in Bishopstoke after a life-changing operation in America, made possible thanks to generous donations from Daily Echo readers.

To the amazement of her family and friends, Megan, who has cerebral palsy, is walking like any other young girl, with her heels on the ground and legs facing forward.

Mum Steph said: “It is the perfect Christmas present. Everyone who sees Megan walk is just overwhelmed by how much she has improved in such a short time.

“We never dared believe the operation would work this well. We dreamed of Megan walking around the Christmas tree on her heels and here she is doing it. It’s amazing.”

Megan’s family embarked on their mammoth mission to raise £40,000 for the operation in America, when they launched Megan’s Quest in the Daily Echo in July.

The youngster’s legs were turned inwards, forcing her to walk on her toes. This caused her great pain despite hours of physio every day.

The Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy was successful and relaxed her leg muscles permanently, allowing her to walk on her heels without the need to have more operations in the future.

Recovery Megan and her mum spent and month in St Louis, Missouri, undergoing intense physiotherapy before returning to the UK just in time for Christmas.

She will now have to continue physiotherapy to build up the strength in her leg muscles over the next four months but after that she will only have to do two hours of physio a week, instead of the gruelling eight-hour schedule she has been used to.

Steph added: “She will have to work really hard over the next four months but this time we have light at the end of the tunnel and we can tell Megan that it will soon be over. We could never say that before.

“We will never be able to thank everyone enough for raising so much money. Without it Megan would have never had this life-changing operation. All the hard work has definitely been worth it.

“There are just so many little things she can do now that she could never do before.”

Megan said: “This is the best Christmas present and I am really pleased I was able to have this operation.”