Little Molly Byrne has defied medical odds that she would never walk by taking her first ever steps.
Just a few weeks before her fourth birthday, Molly walked unassisted into the arms of her ecstatic mother.
"We couldn't believe it. It was wonderful when she walked towards me," said her mother Melanie Byrne (28).
Molly was diagnosed with a rare condition named Oral Facial Digital Syndrome when she was born. When she got an MRI scan, her parents were told she would not walk.
But Melanie and Jonathan Byrne always believed she would walk one day.
The couple, who live in Dara Court, Celbridge, Co Kildare, ensured Molly received physiotherapy and exercise every day. Jonathan (31) built her parallel bars to help her development.
"We were told Molly had no balance as the left and right sides of her brain were not connected and there was no balance centre in the middle of her brain. But there was a possibility the brain could create its own pathway," said Melanie.
Last month, Molly stood on her own and took a step into Melanie's arms. Now she can take three or four steps unaided.
"We are staying positive and believe Molly will be able to walk farther in the future," said Melanie.
Melanie said her daughter is "a little treasure" who has brought a lot of happiness into the world.
She cannot speak but is fluent in sign language. "There are a lot of parents who have special needs children. Every little achievement is to be celebrated. We hope that Molly's progress will encourage other parents," she said.