'Mermaid' Girl Takes First Steps Post-Surgery

Peru's "little mermaid," a baby born with legs fused from her thighs to her ankles, is taking her first steps since undergoing a series of operations last year to separate her limbs.

Milagros Cerron, 2, was born with a rare congenital defect known as sirenomelia, or "mermaid syndrome," which occurs in one out of every 70,000 births.

She was seen taking her first steps today, more than a year after her medical procedures began. In June of 2005, doctors started the first of three complicated operations to separate the legs of the toddler whose name means "miracles" in Spanish.

A medical team of 10 doctors including plastic surgeons, pediatricians and heart specialists assisted in the surgeries, which are nearly complete.

"We just need to finish up some touches on her lines," her doctor Luis Rubio said. "You have to give some form to a mermaid and make her look as a normal person. This would be a cosmetic issue and we will proceed as needed."

Rubio said they've reached 98 percent of their goals for Cerron and the remaining cosmetic surgery will help her look like a "normal person."

She is one of three known children with this affliction worldwide.

Her father, Richard Cerron, said he has been hoping "with faith in God" that his daughter would be able to walk and have a normal life.

"I hope we could go for a walk, that she could go to school and do it by herself. That's what I would like," Cerron said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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