June 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM ET
Donning a Superman cape, the 2-year-old who lost both her lower legs in a lawn mower accident in April got to try out a pair of artificial limbs Monday.
As soon as technicians attached Ireland Nugent's prosthetic legs and set the toddler on her feet, the little girl was off walking, supporting herself on the parallel bars. Happy with her regained mobility, Ireland said, “I want to take my legs home.”
The artificial legs -- one decorated with Minnie Mouse, the other with Dora the Explorer -- are just test versions. Ireland was allowed to take them back to the family’s hotel room to practice walking while waiting for the final versions to be completed.
“It’s huge for us,” her dad, Jerry Nugent, told WESH-TV Orlando. “It’s from tragedy to triumph. We’re getting closer to that triumph. She’s going to be walking again and doing everything she was doing before the accident.”
The man who fitted Ireland for her artificial limbs, prosthetist Stan Patterson, agreed with her dad’s assessment.
“It’s sort of like teaching kids to wear shoes,” Patterson said. “They always want to take them off and not wear them but they’ll get used to it. And Ireland will be doing everything she was doing prior to losing her legs within weeks.”
The little girl lost her legs when her dad backed over her by mistake with his lawn mower. The blades sliced through both her legs below the knee. Luckily, a neighbor who is a nurse was nearby. She applied pressure on the child’s wounds saving her life. Still, Ireland needed several surgeries and may need more as time goes by, her mother Nicole Nugent said.