Brave little fighter Evie McCabe has come through another health battle to defy the odds.
The Hartlepool youngster, who was not expected to live for more than five hours when she was born, is now seven years old.
For all her life, she has faced a series of conditions including four-limb cerebral palsy, epilepsy, extensor spasms, microcephaly, severe neonatal encephalopathy, and hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy.
Doctors also recently found that she has the neurological movement disorder dystonia.
She needs 24-hour care, suffers epileptic seizures every day and spent the first ten weeks of her life in hospital where she has been a regular ever since.
In the last few weeks last year, she faced yet another health scare when she was back in the University Hospital of North Tees.
It is exhausting. Some days I get two hours sleep or no sleep at all but I keep going because it is Evie and that smile is worth all the sleepless nightsShelley Coull
Mum Shelley Coull, 46, explained: “She had a rough time in hospital. She was in for 24 days and we were not sure about her. She had a bad infection and they were ready to take her to the RVI in Newcastle.”
But in typical Evie fashion, said her mum, she pulled round of her own accord just when doctors were about to transfer her.
Now she’s home and always by her side are her amazing mum Shelley and Evie’s big sister Jersey McCabe, 13, who are both carers for her.
Shelley described inspiring Evie as “the most cheeky little girl and she is happy all the time.”
She added: “Everyone who meets her can not believe that she is that smiley. There are some days when I get two hours sleep or none at all but I keep going because it is Evie and that smile is worth all the sleepless nights.”
Jersey, who is a student at High Tunstall College of Science, is a massive support for her mum and helps in so many ways at the family home in the Rift House area of town.
“She sits with her, talks to her, reads to her and she is brilliant with her,” said Shelley. “And Evie adores her.”
Incredible Jersey has been a carer for Evie since she was seven and said: “It’s not a bother because I get to help mum and I get to spend time with Evie - and her smile brings me joy.”
Jersey’s most worrying time is when Evie is in hospital and, while Shelley is by her hospital bedside, Jersey has to stay with relatives and wait for news.
Shelley said: “I don’t like Jersey to visit Evie in hospital because she gets very upset when Evie is very poorly. She doesn’t like to see her like that.”
But there is support for her, especially from the Hartlepool Carers group which has been a godsend, said Shelley.
They have supported her with one-to-one help and a degree of understanding which only comes from people who have been through it all themselves.
Jersey said: “If I am feeling down, they always put a smile back on my face.”
Shelley praised Jersey for her outstanding help in looking after Evie and said: “She is amazing. I can’t believe how much she has adapted. She is very mature.”
The Hartlepool Mail told last month how Hartlepool Carers was hoping to hear from more people needing support.
Officials believe there could be as many as 12,000 people in the town who are doing work which is classed as caring but only around a tenth of them are getting the support they so richly deserve.
Hartlepool Carers, though, is there for them and can be found at 19A Lowthian Road in Hartlepool.
It is open 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday to drop in or you can call (01429) 283095.
Alternatively, the Facebook page is there for people to leave messages any time of day and night.