When Jemma Kelly was born with deformities to her hands and a leg, her parents had to deal with a heartbreaking conundrum. But as they were keen for their daughter to have as normal a life as possible, they eventually came to a decision: one of the little girl’s limbs had to be amputated.
Back in 2012, however, Tamara and Jimmy Kelly were looking forward to welcoming their child into the world. And little Jemma arrived in July that year; after her birth, however, her parents were told something that Tamara has since admitted came as a major shock.
Indeed, after Jemma had been delivered by cesarean section, doctors broke some worrying news to the baby’s mom. In particular, they explained that her daughter had been born with missing fingers and a deformed leg. What’s more, this was the first time that Tamara had known that there was anything different about her new child.
And in an interview obtained by the Daily Mail in 2016, Tamara recalled the first time that she laid eyes on her little girl. “After giving birth, I was told Jemma was fine, but her legs were messed up and there was a problem with her hands,” she said.
However, it wasn’t until she saw the issues for herself that Tamara realized how serious they were. “I was really shocked when I saw her at first,” she admitted. “She only had three fingers on each hand. And there wasn’t an ankle on her bottom right leg, so it had formed in a hook shape.”
It turned out that Jemma’s fingers and leg were the results of a genetic abnormality that hadn’t been spotted during Tamara’s pregnancy. And both Tamara and Jimmy would go on to find themselves in a devastating position that no parent would welcome: that is, they had to decide the fate of one of their daughter’s limbs.
Explaining their predicament, Tamara was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying, “We were given options to extend her leg with screws, metals and rods.” Another choice, however, was that of amputation – a possibility that, on the surface, may seem a rather drastic one.
Nevertheless – and after thinking long and hard – Tamara and Jimmy reasoned that amputation was the kindest option for Jemma. “We decided that if she had it amputated, she could live a better life without countless surgeries,” Tamara explained.
Consequently, when little Jemma was just nine months old, her right leg was removed from above the knee. Two months after that, though, she received her first prosthetic limb – and since then, there’s been no holding her back.
Even as an infant, Jemma was determined to find her feet, in fact. “When she was younger, she used to stand at the couch and balance like a flamingo,” Tamara revealed. The mom added, “But now [Jemma’s] walking, running and always on the move.”
Indeed, Jemma appears to do her mother proud with every step she takes. “When she learned to walk, it was such a massive achievement,” Tamara has admitted. “We’ve had to undergo a lot of therapy, and I’ve researched different ways to teach her how to move. But now she’s just incredible.”
And as Jemma grew up, she has also had to become accustomed to life with just six fingers and the challenges that presents on a day-to-day basis. However, it appears that her disabilities haven’t held her back; on the contrary, she’s a very active little girl indeed.
Revealing Jemma’s many hobbies, Tamara said, “She does cheerleading, plays tee-ball, rides a bike [and] bounces on trampolines. If you covered her prosthetic leg, you’d never know the difference between her and any other child.”
The Daily Mail also quotes Tamara as saying, “Ever since [Jemma] had her first prosthetic, we’ve been determined not to let her feel like she is disabled – even getting her into sports.” That’s despite the fact that Jemma had initially been given a prosthetic leg that didn’t bend at the knee, therefore making any movement more complicated than it would be with her left leg.
Nevertheless, Jemma’s found a way around that obstacle, too. As Tamara would explain, “With any physical activity, she learns how to adapt it to her prosthetic and doesn’t have any problems. So, in cheerleading, she sometimes stands on her prosthetic leg for support and kicks with her normal leg, or vice-versa.”
Indeed, according to Jemma’s mom, her daughter “loves taking on new challenges and never complains or lets her leg hold her back.” What’s more, it appears as if the little girl is full of boundless energy. Tamara continued, “There’s never a dull moment with Jemma – she’s never sitting still. Even without her leg on, she’s always hopping around the house.”
But while Jemma may not have felt sorry for herself, her parents knew that her prosthetic limb held her back in some ways. She dreamed of one day becoming a cheerleader, for instance; however, as she couldn’t bend her right leg, she therefore wouldn’t be able to do kicks or backflips with it.
In April 2016, though, Jemma would receive a gift that would change her life: her first prosthetic leg with a joint at the knee. And, happily, the new limb enabled the little girl to participate in sports in much the same way as any of her peers do.
Explaining the difference Jemma’s new leg had made, Tamara said, “Now she can bend down to grab things, like in tee-ball.” She added of her daughter, “She’s just getting used to being able to kneel rather than [having to] throw her leg out.”
And Tamara continued, “[Jemma] loves the new prosthetic. It’s nowhere near as restricting, and she’ll continue to grow up like any other child.” Furthermore, the mom said, “We’re all incredibly proud of everything she’s done so far – she’s an amazing little girl.” It’s certainly hard to deny that – and, with any luck, Jemma will go on to achieve anything that she sets her heart on, too.