STAWELL - Eight and a half years ago, being able to walk by herself was only a dream for Stawell's Amarina Richards.
Amarina has had serious health problems since birth. Her health issues have ranged from a cleft pallet to heart problems, clubbed feet to mirotia (also known as cauliflower ears).
The youngster had her foot amputated from her right leg in May, 2009, but that didn't dampen her spirits. On the contrary, it made Amarina, who was four at the time, even more determined.
Amarina was fitted with a prosthetic leg at the Royal Children's Hospital in August and is now up and walking.
For Amarina and her family, it is a dream come true.
"It's just amazing to see her go," mum Janet Aisbett said.
"She's really doing it. She's walking on a frame and there's no stopping her. We have to tell her it's time to take a break."
One of Amarina's proudest moments, according to Janet, was being able to walk into assembly at St Patrick's Primary School with the assistance of her frame.
"She was so proud of herself and just walked right into the assembly for the first time ever," Janet said.
"We have all waited eight and a half years for this moment and she just wants to keep going.
"For me, this would be the proudest moment for Amarina, but if you ask her, it's because she can wear two shoes now."
Janet said there were plenty of emotions when Amarina took her first steps in the rehabilitation room at the Royal Children's Hospital.
"I probably didn't cry as much as people think I would have, because I always knew one day this moment would arrive," Janet said.
"I knew she could do it and I'm really happy. It was emotional, for sure, but I had it in my head the whole time that she would do this, so it's a really happy emotion..
"This will give her more independence and a lot more confidence. I'm really proud of her."
Janet said along the journey, Amarina had never lost her sense of humour and just achieved each milestone as they presented.
"She's achieved a lot along the way, little milestones like standing for the National Anthem at assembly. These are things we all take for granted," she said.
"It really is a big milestone and a whole new experience for her being able to walk."