Four-year-old Angelique Schröder says she's very thankful to her doctors and parents after the groundbreaking surgery which saw her toe grafted into a finger.
The little girl from Pietermaritzburg underwent 11 hours of surgery at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, by a team led by surgeon Dr Mark van der Velde, a few months ago.
Angelique was born without a right hand and part of her left arm as result of a condition called symbrachydactyly, which causes limb abnormalities.
Thanks to the first-of-its-kind surgery, one of her toes was successfully transplanted on to her hand.
Fast forward a few months and doctors say Angelique's recovery is going better than expected.
Her family visited the hospital for a check-up last week and are expected to return in six months time for another follow-up appointment.
Her father, Dirk Schröder, says that she started being active a month after surgery and even started doing ballet.
Her older brother adds that he's happy that the doctors helped his sister so that they can play together.
Angelique became the first ever child in South Africa to undergo the operation and has since paved the way for more child patients to receive the same life-changing help.
Her parents will soon have to begin considering the best options for their child when the time comes to attend primary school.
I missed [my brother] when I was in surgery... I was a little bit scared when I was going in surgery and Dr Mark helped me.— Four-year-old Angelique Schröder
I love Dr Mark because he made my new finger.— Four-year-old Angelique Schröder
The doctors are so happy with the improvement.— Dirk Schröder, Angelique's father
In six months time, we'll have another check-up and possibly another surgery just to shorten the tendon in the finger so it can move a bit more.— Dirk Schröder, Angelique's father
The day before the surgery, we spent as much time as we could with her... It was the longest 11 hours of my life.— Dirk Schröder, Angelique's father
Yesterday at the Red Cross, we met a boy who had his finger done two weeks ago, thanks to Angelique... and there are another four lined up.— Dirk Schröder, Angelique's father
Listen to the moving progress update on The Pippa Hudson Show:
Thumbnail image: Western Cape Health Dept website.