Thusha Kamaleswaran was just five years old when she was shot in a South London shop and ostensibly paralysed for life. How is she coping 18 months on?
On March 29 last year a five year old girl was playing with her siblings in a South London shop when all hell broke loose. Three young men, little more than boys, were hunting down a fourth with the intention of killing him. Roshaun Bryan ran into the shop, and his pursuers opened fire with no consideration for anyone else inside. Thusha Kamaleswaran was hit in the chest, her spine shattered.
The three guilty men were given life sentences earlier this year; Thusha had already been given hers, having already "died" twice from cardiac arrest.
Eighteen months on, the BBC visited Thusha and her family, and the progress she has made is remarkable. Her treatment included rehabilitation at the world famous Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where nearly seventy years ago a refugee from Nazi Germany was put in charge of the new National Spinal Injuries Centre. Ludwig Guttmann revolutionised the treatment of paraplegics, among other things founding what was to become the Paralympic Games. It will be a while before Thusha Kamaleswaran is ready to compete in that, but she has made remarkable progress and there is even a chance she will one day walk again.
There have been complaints that the NHS has not been doing all it can to help her, but others have not been slow. A group of detectives from Operation Trident set out to raise £5,000 to buy her a new bicycle. They ended up raising more than £180,000! Paramedics from the London Ambulance Service will soon be following in their footsteps.
There is an ongoing appeal which can be found on the website set up for Thusha.
Inspiring as all this is, it would be much better if it were not necessary, and if young men wouldn't waste so many lives - including their own - shooting, stabbing and oftentimes killing others for reasons which in the great scheme of things are trivial beyond all meaning.