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Mum's excitement at torch honour
9:49am Wednesday 22nd August 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
The mother of a young girl who lost her leg when she was hit by a London bus has described her excitement at carrying the Paralympic Torch.
Pollyanna Hope was just two when she was hit by a single-decker bus near a stop in Richmond, south-west London, in April 2007.
She was with her mother, Sarah Hope, and her grandmother, Elizabeth Panton, at the time as they were on their way to visit Mrs Hope's twin sister, Victoria, and her newborn son, Rollo.
Pollyanna was taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital but doctors were unable to save her lower right leg and had to amputate it below the knee.
Mrs Panton, 65, was killed in the accident.
Mrs Hope will carry the Paralympic Torch in Hackney, east London, next Wednesday, and has received support from the world's most well-known Paralympian as she prepares.
The postcard from South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who had both legs amputated below the knee when he was a baby and who runs on blades, came as a complete surprise to the family.
Known as the Blade Runner, he took gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m at the Beijing Paralympics and became the first Paralympian to compete in the Olympics when he competed at the London games earlier this month.
Pollyanna, now seven, wears a prosthetic limb and is a happy young girl who loves ballet and aspires to be a Paralympic showjumper when she is older, her mother said.
"She's a vibrant, happy, outgoing little girl and she's able to live a really good life because she's got a really good limb that is made so well."
The family has set up a charity, Elizabeth's Legacy of Hope, in memory of Mrs Panton, which supports vulnerable amputees around the world through providing low-cost prosthetics, operations, educational, social and psychological assistance.
Mrs Hope, 40, from St Albans, said: "I want to light the flame of hope for thousands of amputees worldwide, and in memory of my mother."
She was crushed under the bus and was left unable to walk for nearly a year, and still suffers numbness in her leg.
The charity has two major projects in Tanzania and one in Sierra Leone, providing more than 60 children so far with prosthetic limbs, and the whole family has been out to see the work being done.
Mrs Hope, who will be running with the Torch with her sister Victoria and three others connected to the charity, will be cheered on by Pollyanna.
"I'm really excited about the Paralympic Games because I think it's going to be a real example and message of hope to hundreds of amputees - and to people like me who is the mother of an amputee who's quite small - to be able to see what they can do in life," she said.
"I'm really looking forward to that."
It took the family a while to deal with the repercussions of the accident, Mrs Hope said, and there are still some things Pollyanna cannot do.
"Swimming is difficult for her, and ballet. She was marked down in her exam because she couldn't point her toes. I thought it was a bit harsh that they didn't take her disability into account."
Mrs Hope added: "My mother was a very sporty lady and she would have loved the Olympics. I feel she's very deserving."
- To find out more about the charity visit: http://elizabethslegacyofhope.org.