BETHANY Hope Woolley is going to be the belle of the ball – despite doctors giving her just 48 hours to live after birth.
The 17-year-old of Springwell has defied the odds.
After being born 15 weeks early, weighing 1lb 13oz, Bethany had to be resuscitated six times and spent six months in Sunderland Royal Hospital’s neonatal unit battling for life.
She went on to prove doctors, who never expected her to live, wrong and this week turned 17.
Now the Sandhill View School pupil’s gearing up for one of her biggest celebrations to date – her prom. She’ll be twirling on the dancefloor at Ramside Hall, Durham, in a dress she’s had specially made for the event.
Bethany, who was given the middle name Hope because of her remarkable survival, said: “I can’t wait for the prom, I’ve had my dress since Year 10 – it’s a copy of the one Jordan wore to her wedding.”
At Bethany’s poorliest time, aged just two months, doctors said she wouldn’t survive the night and she was given the last rites, but, after spending the first 10 weeks of life on a life support machine, she somehow began to breathe for herself.
After six months, she was allowed home but spent two years on an oxygen machine as her frail lungs built up their strength.
Fast forward almost two decades and her family could not be more proud of her journey, which has been featured in the Echo over the years.
“We lost her so many times when she was born, it was awful. We never knew if we would ever get her out of hospital,” said grandma Margaret Liddle, 67, from Plains Farm.
“But we are so proud of her now. She is partially deaf and blind and has delayed learning, but that has never stopped her doing anything she wants to do.
“She just gets on with it. Now she’s starting a new chapter in her life.”
Mum Louise said: “They told me she would have no quality of life, but my daughter can swim, ski and skate.
“It may take her a little longer than other teenagers her age, but she always achieves what she sets out to do.”
Bethany, dubbed Mrs Dolittle because of her passion for animals, has won a place at East Durham College to pursue her dream of being a veterinary nurse.
“My dream is to graduate and work with dolphins in Florida. I hate to see animals suffering and want to help,” said Beth, who volunteers at animal shelters in the city.
Her family would like to thank the doctors and teachers who have helped Beth reach her milestone, including Dr Henshaw, Dr Richmond, Dr Deshpandie and Miss Chipp.