An amazing Arbroath girl is ready to live life to the full after undergoing an incredible transformation.
Ten-year-old Elise Powell, who was born with Crouzon syndrome, this week had her head brace removed by doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.
Elise, a pupil at Hayshead Primary, had to wear the brace for 15 weeks to help fuse bones in her skull, which were not growing properly as a result of Crouzons.
But the major operations and the long and painful process has all been worth it - as you can see from our pictures.
Brave mum Nikkola and dad Danny, the former Arbroath, Montrose, St Johnstone and Brechin City footballer, opened their hearts to the Herald this week on their sheer joy and gratitude after the brace was finally removed.
It’s been quite a week for the Powell gang. Mum Nikkola’s birthday was last Sunday and she got the “best birthday present ever” the following day when Elise’s frame was taken off. And today it’s Elise’s big brother Shaun’s turn as he celebrates his 15th birthday!
Danny beamed: “We are absolutely over the moon, it’s unbelievable.
“She got the brace off on Monday morning and I can’t stop smiling every time I see her, I don’t think I ever will.
“Elise has been so determined and strong all along, she wanted to go through it and knew it would be hard at times. Times have been tough, of course they have, but this makes it all worthwhile.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by well-wishers on Facebook, all saying great things about Elise.
“I can only think this must be like winning Euromillions...but much, much better!”
Elise revealed to the Herald in July she was looking forward to some tasty treats as soon as the brace was off - and she got her wish.
Nikkola laughed: “Oh yes she did - she had a hot dog and wedges at the hospital then McDonald’s on the drive home, but that was a special treat!
“She has been brilliant through it all, her attitude and determination, we are just so proud of her.
“Everyone at her school has been great, teachers, pupils, other parents. I can’t speak highly enough about them all.
“They have made our lives much easier with their help and support and we as a family, as well as all of our friends, want to thank them very much.”
Danny added: “The medical team at Alder Hey are heroes, what a fantastic job they do. Everyone who has been on this journey with us .. thank you all from the family, we appreciate everything you have done with fund-raising and special events, truly remarkable.”