IT’S been a year the proud parents of brave Talia Foster will never forget.
Throughout her first four turbulent years the battling youngster and her loving family had very little to celebrate as Talia battled against various conditions and suffered hundreds of seizures every single day.
But 2013 was the year when battling Talia fought back.
This year the adorable five-year-old managed to take her very first steps and started full-time school.
Her specialists - who she had appointments with on a weekly basis at one point - are delighted with her development and now just check up on her with a yearly visit.
And her state-of-the-art sensory room - funded by kind-hearted Hartlepool residents who raised an outstanding £34,000 to support Talia - has provided hours and hours of fun for the youngster, all the time helping to stimulate Talia’s brain.
And proud parents Clair, 39, and Brendan, 37, can’t hide their delight at the fantastic development of their youngest daughter.
Clair, also a mum of Callum, 18, and Gabrielle, nine, said: “Talia has had a really, really good year.
“We couldn’t be any happier with how she’s coming along.
“She’s just developed and improved so much from this time last year, she’s doing absolutely brilliant.”
Brave Talia has tackled epilepsy, brain cysts and numerous respiratory problems in her short life.
She’s visited specialist physiotherapists around the country and was previously unable to sit up unaided.
But thanks to treatment and the support of those specialists the youngster managed to take her very first steps helped along by the physios.
And in September this year, Talia reached another major milestone when she started full-time at Springwell Primary School, in Hartlepool - and it couldn’t have gone any better.
“She absolutely loves school,” said Clair.
“To the point where if we are in the car and we drive past the school she starts screaming with excitement.
“The teachers have told us how well she’s doing, she’s even won trophies for being a good worker.”
For Talia and her caring family, 2014 will hopefully be more of the same.
“We’re hoping next year is just as good,” said Clair.
“If Talia continues to improve next year as she has done this year then that will be absolutely fantastic.
“We’re so proud of how well she’s doing.
“If somebody had told us a couple of years ago that she would have achieved what she’s already achieved we wouldn’t have believed them, but she’s spent her whole life defying the odds.