She wasn't expected to survive infancy - but this courageous Hartlepool girl reached 13 years old this week!
Battling Hartlepool youngster Talia Foster has beaten the odds to reach another major milestone.
The girl who wasn’t expected to live beyond infancy had her 13th birthday this week and celebrated with cake, gifts galore and balloons.
Proud mum Clair Foster said: “She is headstrong. She is determined. She is a typical teenager and I definitely did not expect to get to this day when she was a baby.
"She really enjoyed her birthday. We had it at home and she had cake. We had a T-shirt made for her with ‘limited 2008 edition’ on the front and ‘Talia 13’ on the back.
"We also had a big poster made out of loads of photos of her all the way from when she was a baby.”
But Talia, who is a student at the town’s Catcote Academy, is a fighter who never gives up.
In the years since then, she has tackled epilepsy, brain cysts and numerous chest problems.
Life has been tough for the youngster from the Brierton area.
After overcoming a string of problems in her early life, new conditions just kept on being diagnosed.
In the last few years alone, she has been:
* Registered blind with only six out of 60 vision in both eyes;
* Has been diagnosed with autism;
* Has been diagnosed with dystonia (which is a movement disorder where the muscles contract uncontrollably);
* Talia has also suffered bronchitis;
* Has a reduced immune system;
* Suffered an outbreak of hundreds of ulcers in her mouth.
On top of all that, she has also spent periods in hospital with pneumonia and even swine flu.
Life was tough during the pandemic too for Talia. Because of lockdown restrictions, she had to stay indoors constantly for more than four months at the start of the pandemic and has only rarely been out of the house since then.
She has just had her first Covid injection.
Talia’s latest fight is with curvature of her spine.
Clair added: “She is going in to hospital for a pre-op appointment on September 16 and 17 and her operation on her spine will be in the next three months.”