Two-year-old Stevenage girl faces long haul to stop leg being amputated

Rosie Chapple from Stevenage needs a new buggy to help her get around and will need a series of oper

Rosie Chapple from Stevenage needs a new buggy to help her get around and will need a series of operations to save her leg from being amputated. - Credit: Archant

A two-year-old girl and her family are preparing for a series of operations in a bid to save her leg from being amputated.

Rosie Chapple, of Fishers Green in Stevenage, has a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis type 1. It can cause tumours to grow along the nerves, as well as bone abnormalities, birth marks and learning difficulties.

The bones in Rosie’s left leg are diseased, causing her leg to bow and leaving her with limited mobility.

Mum Rebecca Howells, 33, said: “She’s broken her leg twice just from twisting it slightly. She has a leg brace and can walk short distances. She always starts the day with great enthusiasm, but she gets tired very quickly.” The family has been told there are two options – amputate Rosie’s leg, or undergo a series of operations to grow new bone tissue and then strengthen and straighten the leg.

Rebecca said: “Amputation is quite a common choice among a lot of parents, but it’s such a big decision to make for someone else. We don’t want to do it without trying the other option first.”

Rosie is due to undergo surgery in January at London’s Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, when grafts from her hips will be used to grow new bone tissue in her left leg.

Rebecca said: “She has the perfect personality to deal with this – happy and determined. She’s lovely.”

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Rebecca said the charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children – which provides specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness - has provided a lifeline by offering to supply a specialist buggy for Rosie.

She said: “Rosie has a regular buggy, but it doesn’t have any support for her legs and she is outgrowing it. We need a buggy that is big enough to last several years, as Rosie is due to have a number of operations throughout her childhood. It also needs extra support for her hips and leg to reduce pain and help her recovery.”

She added: “I want to raise awareness of the charity because, when you are in our situation, a lot of the time you don’t know the help that’s available to you. The charity can help with anything from lending out different boxes of toys to children with learning difficulties, right up to funding specialist equipment so a child in hospital can be cared for at home.”

To find out more about Newlife’s work in Hertfordshire, visit

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