An extraordinary Leeds toddler, born with 12 fingers and 12 toes, could take a huge stride forward in his bid to walk when his extra digits are removed next month.
Jacob Duffy, from Middleton, will undergo the operation, which will also see bones fused in a finger on his left hand to create a thumb, on March 7.
It is hoped that the surgery will allow him to wear shoes for the first time and aid his physical development.
The 15-month-old youngster was born with multiple health problems including an eye condition called coloboma, which causes gaps in the structure of the eye, and a hole in the heart in November 2014.
Mum Rachael Hendry, 25, is enthusiastic at the prospect of Jacob moving forward but also sorry to see a part of him removed.
“I’m really sad about it but excited because he’s taking some steps with a baby walker, so it will be great when he can wear shoes and progress with his walking,” she said.
“His extra digits are a huge part of him. If I knew they wouldn’t affect his development they would keep them but I know it’s for the best.”
Casts of Jacob’s hands and feet are set to be made for the family as a permanent reminder of his past.
Family, friends and members of the community have supported him over recent months and followed his journey through the dedicated ‘Looking Through Jacob’s Eyes’ page on Facebook.
A fundraising campaign to create a sensory room for sight-impaired Jacob raised £18,000 last year and it seems he is now reaping the benefits.
Rachael added: “I’m hoping his future’s bright. I think once the toes particularly are removed the sky’s the limit. He seems almost age appropriate – he’s very much nearly there.”
Visit facebook.com/JacobsColoboma for information.