Watching little Olivia Hills play with her sisters it’s hard to believe she is seriously ill.
But the two-year-old twin is a “miracle” child, born with a huge hole in her diaphragm and has spent countless weeks in hospital since she was born.
Mum Lisa Hills, 23, of Chestnut Drive, Hollingwood, is now campaigning to raise awareness of her daughter’s devastating condition which affects one in every 2,500 babies and accounts for around eight per cent of all major congenital abnormalities.
Lisa is calling on the government to provide more funding to find treatments for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia and save lives. She is championing an online petition which so far has over 8,500 signatures - but needs 100,000 to be considered in parliament.
Lisa, who also has daughter Macie and six-month-old Lola, said: ”Olivia is my miracle child.
“After she was born she underwent an operation to save her and was given just 20 per cent chance of survival. Later that day my little fighter pulled out her ventilator and was breathing for the first time of her own. She proved a lot of people wrong that day and continues to every day.”
At just nine hours old Olivia, weighing 3lbs 4oz - the smallest baby the surgeon had ever operated on - underwent major surgery.
She then spent over a month in hospital.
Despite making trips to Sheffield Children’s Hospital at least once a month, having a left lung half the size of her right, regularly stopping breathing and having a small spleen which means she picks up a lot of infections, mum Lisa said Olivia was a happy little girl.
She added: “Her smile never ends and nothing fazes her. She is the bravest little girl I know and deserves the world.”
Olivia also shares a close bond with her twin sister Macie and the pair are due to start nursery in April, a day Lisa thought she would never see.
She added: “When they were babies Macie used to cry every single time when Olivia stopped breathing, without fail. They are incredibly close and if Olivia is poorly Macie doesn’t play up. She’s very good to her sister.”
Lisa is urging people to sign the petition, launched by charity Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia UK.
She said: “The day I was told Olivia had CDH I didn’t have a clue what it meant, I’d never heard of it.
“I was told she would never being be able to do anything that Macie could but she has proved everyone wrong by not only doing everything; rolling over, sitting up, walking all before her twin sister.
“However I am one of the incredibly lucky parents, sadly not all babies do survive.
“Incredibly, for a condition as common as Cystic Fibrosis and Spina Bifida and that has a high mortality rate, many people have still not heard of CDH.
“My main mission now is to help spread awareness and raise money for the charity CDH UK.”
The family have taken part in an awareness film which can be viewed by going to www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFOoZLx0Rp8
The petition can be signed at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/33898