NOT expected to survive, little Niall Harrison was left critically ill after he was starved of oxygen at birth.
Taken straight into the neonatal unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital, the 6lb 3oz baby was not breathing for the first five minutes of his life.
Doctors fought desperately to resuscitate him but, despite their success, Niall developed complications which left him facing an uphill battle.
Dad Neil Harrison, of Monkwearmouth, said: “There was a time when we didn’t think he was going to make it. They told us there was only a 20 to 30 per cent chance that he was ever going to live a normal life.”
Now, as the family prepare to mark Niall’s third birthday, they are celebrating the youngster being given the all clear.
Neil, 34, added: “After years of going in and out of hospital, he is finally just like any other child his age.”
Up until his birth on June 19, 2010, Niall’s mum, Louise Wayman, 30, had suffered no complications.
The couple had been looking forward to the birth of their first child but, when he arrived, Niall was a blue colour and appeared not to be breathing, he also had fluid on his lungs.
Neil, a civil servant, said: “He was taken to neonatal straight away and spent the next 10 days there. After that, it was just one test after another.”
But after months of care by specialist nurses on the unit, Niall began to recover and slowly started making progress.
Now the family have decided to say their own thank you to medics who helped save their son’s life and will this weekend take part in the Big Bike Ride at Herrington Country Park.
Neil and Louise, also a civil servant, are planning to tackle the 35-mile ride on Sunday, so far raising almost £900 for the unit.
“We just wanted to give something back after all the help they’ve given us,” added Neil. “Thankfully, the quick thinking and actions of the neo-natal unit saved our son.”
As he prepares to celebrate his birthday next month, Niall loves nothing more than playing with his cars, riding his bike and messing about in the park.
Neil added: “It makes us happy to see him so happy.”