Emily Mia aims for Olympics

PUBLISHED: 10:37 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:35 03 July 2010

FOUR years ago her only ambition was for “real toes” but now Emily Mia Harris has her sights set on that supreme test of human achievement - the Olympics.

FOUR years ago her only ambition was for “real toes” but now Emily Mia Harris has her sights set on that supreme test of human achievement - the Olympics.

Following a remarkable swimming performance at the weekend's Nationwide Disabled Sporting Events National Championships in Sheffield the 10-year-old is dreaming of more medal success competing for her country.

The Woodlands Middle School pupil - who was so overwhelmed when she first saw the Sheffield venue that she burst into tears - confidently competed against other children without limbs to come away with two bronze, two silver and a gold in the 400m freestyle, striking 32 seconds off her personal best.

This week her mother Donna Doornbos-Harris said Emily Mia was competing at national level for the first time in a 10 to 14 age group. She said that to have come away with one medal would have been an achievement but to win five and swim six personal bests after qualifying for eight events was astonishing.

The family, who live in Mill Lane, Bradwell, was this week still reeling from her success. Mrs Doornbos- Harris said Emily Mia was just as amazed as everyone else and “over the moon” with her achievement. She added that her determination and confidence had grown since well-wishers rallied round to fund an £8000 prosthetic leg with “real toes” after she was denied one by NHS funders who would only pay for an uncomfortable, ugly one.

The primary care trust has since reversed its decision and Emily Mia now has a fitting with a pneumatic knee and an adjustable foot which allows her to wear a small heel, and even a spare leg so the family don't have to dash off to the specialist clinic in Dorset every time something goes wrong.

Her mother said: “It has given her the confidence to carry on and achieve. Appearance shouldn't matter but it does and having a better leg has helped her fit in with everyone else.

“She has given up everything for swimming and we have encouraged it because it is good for her back and her posture. Her ambition is to go to London 2012 - she is such a determined little thing.”

She said she was indebted to local fundraisers whose efforts had improved her daughter's life and helped her overcome the handicap, having lost her lower limb shortly after birth.

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