HER beaming smile says it all, as one little girl enjoyed a Christmas to remember with her family after undergoing a life-changing operation in the States.

For Susanna Petersburska it marks the end of one journey and the start of another, which will the family hope, mark the chance to live a normal life.

The bubbly five-year-old, who has melted the hearts of Star readers, suffers from cerebral palsy and underwent a pioneering technique in St Louis, Missouri under Dr Tae Sung Park. It involved cutting some of the nerve fibres from the muscles to the spinal cord.

Initially the family’s task seemed daunting; they had to find £50,000 to help fund the operation and their stay out there.

After several months of fundraising they were making steady progress, but with the help of Star readers and restaurant chain Frankie and Benny’s, who held a nationwide fundraising campaign, the total was smashed.

Back at home in Eccleston in time for Christmas, Susanna’s road to recovery is just beginning.

Her doting dad Andrzej (37) explained: “Her progress has been fantastic and the future looks good, but she has to undergo physio every day.”

Mum Monika (35) added: “All her muscles need stretching so that they work properly.

“Some muscles are too short, but she just needs lots of physio and lots of swimming. She loves swimming. No matter how busy you are, you can’t put off her physio until tomorrow.

“She’s still the same cheeky little girl,” added Andrzej. “However long it takes, we will keep going.”

Monika and Andrzej said they will only take positives from their trip. They said they were also proud of their other daughter Maja, who turned eight on Christmas Eve and helped look after her sister. They added: “Everyone over there was so nice to us and so helpful. We got lost a few times, but they were always friendly.

“It was a positive experience for us all. Dr Park is lovely and cares for all the kids so much. And everything we wanted to know was explained to us.

“We were there for five weeks and time went very fast before the surgery. But seeing Susanna after the surgery was very emotional. During the physio, she would cry, but we were told if she stopped crying it wasn’t working properly.

“Nothing is 100 per cent guaranteed, but it is all positive and we are going to have a lovely Christmas.

“It really shows that dreams do come true.”