NEWS
17/07/2012 02:48 BST | Updated 17/07/2012 08:56 BST

Thusha Kamaleswaran, Paralysed Schoolgirl, Receives Message Of Hope From 'Bionic' Marathoner Claire Lomas (PICTURES)

She was just five-years-old when she was caught in the cross-fire of a gang-related shooting which left her paralysed.

Now six, Thusha Kamaleswaran, who once dreamed of being a dancer, has bravely started to put her life back together.

It is unlikely the smiling youngster will ever walk again, but she has been given a message of hope from a woman who managed to complete the London Marathon – despite being paralysed from the chest down after a horse-riding accident.

‘Bionic’ woman Claire Lomas meets Thusha Kamaleswaran

Claire Lomas, 32, walked the 26.2-mile course in 16 days using a cutting edge "bionic suit". Her feat also saw her raise more than £85,000 for a spinal research charity.

The inspirational meeting between Claire and Thusha, arranged by Closer magazine, comes as the little girl returns to school, a year after the incident which nearly cost her life.

Thusha, who was struck in the chest by a bullet as she played in the aisle in her aunt's south London shop in March last year, has spent a year recovering in a spinal unit, and can occasionally wiggle her toes.

She has daily physiotherapy and uses a specially-designed bike to strengthen her leg muscles. But her parents, father Sassi and mother Sharmila, fear for their daughter's future and want her to understand she can still live life to the full.

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Claire hopes Thusha will realise she can still live life to the full, despite her disability

Mother-of-one Claire said: “I’m amazed by her courage. But she needs to realise she can still fulfil her dreams – I’m proof you can overcome anything.”

Thusha said: "She's cool. Maybe her suit could help me dance one day."

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Sassi, said: “It’s great to see Claire making the most of her life. It gives us hope.

"She copes amazingly. She likes doing her hair and dancing in her chair. But she gets upset too - it's hard for her seeing her friends running around."

Nathaniel Grant, Kazeem Kolawole and Anthony McCalla were jailed for life

Three men were jailed for life in April for the gang-related shooting that left Thusha paralysed.

Nathaniel Grant, Anthony McCalla and Kazeem Kolawole were hunting down a rival gang member when they shot Thusha in March last year.

They were found guilty this March of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Thusha and shopper Roshan Selvakumar, who was shot in the face, as well as attempted murder of their intended victim Roshaun Bryan.

Grant will serve a minimum of 17 years, and Kolawole and McCalla at least 14 years.

The full feature appears in Closer magazine’s real-life special, on sale now.