It was an emotional moment Hayley Kennedy thought she might never see.
Her brave son Archie stood up for the first time in his life.
And the little boy with cerebral palsy did it just days before he celebrates a very special third birthday, along with his equally amazing twin brother Harley.
It’s all down to the physiotherapists from the University Hospital of Hartlepool who gave hope to the family who were first told Archie may never walk at all.
Now Archie is a whole lot closer to those first steps after standing for the first time. Hayley, 22, said: “It is absolutely unbelievable. I cried. And when he stood up, even Archie was looking round at the world as if to say ‘wow’.
“Normally, he just rolls about but he wanted to clap his hands. He was really excited.He is doing amazingly well and that is down to the physios.
“It is hard but my boys are the reason why I smile.”
Archie and Harley hit national headlines as being the most premature twins to survive in the country when they came into the world at just 23 weeks of their mum’s pregnancy, on June 13 and 14, 2012.
They weighed just 1lb 4oz and 1lb 6oz each.
The boys both had holes in their tiny hearts and at just two weeks old Archie had to undergo gruelling open heart surgery, with his brother Harley following two weeks later.
Medics also operated on them both to correct bowel problems, performed laser treatment to stimulate their underdeveloped eyes, and put them on ventilators and oxygen to help them to breathe. Despite the odds being stacked against them though, the little fighters clung to life.
Archie’s premature birth meant he had little strength and movement in his legs. But regular physiotherapy has seen him improve.
And now, as they get ready to become three-year-olds, the boys are continuing to amaze their ultra proud parents, Hayley and dad Billy Garthwaite, 23.
While Archie faces his own health problems, Harley is “a little boy with no fear,” said Hayley.
He recently needed an operation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle but soon after “he was jumping around on the hospital bed and the nurses had their hearts in their mouths.”
But even though he can do more than his brother, Harley always looks out for his sibling and the pair adore each other.
Hayley , of Irvine Road, Hartlepool,said: “When I look at pictures of them as babies, and when I look at them now, I just think it is amazing.
“They are so happy, They are incredible little boys and I can’t say thank you enough to the people who have helped them.”
The family are planning a holiday to mark the boys’ third birthday.
Clinical lead for children’s physiotherapy Caron Nicholson at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “Archie has come such a long way and we’re delighted with his progress.”