Always a smile from battler Talia

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BATTLING youngster Talia Foster has faced up to an enormous list of health problems ever since she was born.

The Hartlepool four-year-old has tackled epilepsy, brain cysts, and respiratory problems – and that’s just a small portion of her ailments.

But brave Talia has done it all with a smile on her face.

Proud parents Clair, 38, and Brendan, 37, say they never cease to be amazed by her.

Clair said: “She is our hero and we are honoured to be her parents.”

Today, Talia becomes the latest entrant in this year’s Pride of Hartlepool Awards, adding to an already impressive list of contenders although there’s still plenty of time for more to come forward.

Clair, of Erskine Road, Hartlepool, said: “Even in the darkest hours, she always gives us a smile.

“Talia has had many problems from the minute she was born.”

Her conditions also include low immunity levels, limited hand use, reduced white brain matter and reflux.

But Clair added: “The strength and courage Talia shows us never ceases to be amazing to us.”

The last few months have been a real rollercoaster ride for Talia and her family.

She sat unaided for the first time in her life after attending physiotherapy sessions at a specialist centre in Milton Keynes.

“It shows the fighter she is,” said her mum.

But then, shortly before Christmas, she spent a week on oxygen at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, when she was unable to cough up the fluids which built up on her lungs.

Just four days before Christmas, doctors gave Talia’s delighted parents the news that the youngster would be allowed home, meaning she could spend the big day with her older sister, Gabrielle, eight, and brother, Callum, 17.

But Clair said: “Talia can deteriorate very quickly and be hospitalised but it never stops her. She does everything with great strength and determination.”

Nominations are flooding in for this year’s awards.

This year there are 10 categories in which you can nominate the unsung heroes in the town.

Whether you know a fantastic fundraiser or a community stalwart, we want to hear all about those who deserve praise and have done something special.

Simply fill in the form on this page and send it to us or you can enter online or on tablet by following the links.

Details of how to get them to us are on the nomination form. The deadline for entries is February 27.

Anyone wanting further information about the Pride of Hartlepool Awards should contact the Mail’s deputy editor, Gavin Foster, on (01429) 239372 or email gavin.foster@jpress.co.uk