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Brave Ava thrilled to meet Disney hero; Mickey Mouse treats meningitis survivor to show tickets.

Byline: KATIE DAVIES

IT WAS like a dream come true for meningitis survivor Ava Bainbridge when she met her Disney heroes.

The two-year-old, who lost her toes and had parts of her feet amputated after contracting the disease, was invited to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse ahead of the Disney Live Mickey Magic Show at the Metro Radio Arena.

And her face lit up with excitement when Mickey handed her VIP tickets for the show in August.

Ava was also on hand to help out magician Martin Duffy with his magic tricks.

Her mum Gemma Bainbridge, 27, of Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, said: "We were absolutely delighted to bring Ava down today. She loves Mickey and Minnie and everything Disney - it was like a dream come true for her.

"She's had a brilliant time today, and we can't thank the Arena enough for inviting us. I know she is going to really enjoy the show in August."

As previously reported in the Chronicle, the toddler was recently fitted with new silicon feet.

The prosthetics are the first to be made for someone so young, and were designed with a set of toes to help Ava walk.

Bosses at the Arena were so touched by Ava's story they offered her the tickets for the show.

Steven Armstrong, director of marketing for Disney Live! said: "When we saw Ava's story in the Chronicle she was clutching a Minnie Mouse and she really touched our hearts.

"We wanted to invite her and her family along to the show and be our VIP guests."

Surgeons amputated Ava's toes when she was diagnosed with the disease last year.

Following the operation, Ava was given blocks to put into her shoes to help her to walk again, but she found them too uncomfortable. She has now been fitted with a pair of silicone slippers with toes on the end, which are put on before ordinary shoes.

After beating all odds to survive, Ava's friends and family threw themselves into fundraising and collected just under pounds 14,000 for Ava.

A pigeon sale held at the Seven Stars pub, in Wrekenton, Gateshead, pulled in pounds 8,000 for Ava's fund, while a further pounds 6,000 was raised through fun days and fancy dress parties.

CAPTION(S):

DREAM COME TRUE Ava Bainbridge and her nana Carol Clay meet Ava's hero, Mickey Mouse WALKING TALL Ava lost parts of her feet to meningitis
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 23, 2012
Words:404
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