JUST six years ago, this young football ace was battling for his life.
Today, seven-year-old Luke Mackay is fighting fit and making a name for himself as a young footballer.
Luke was born with a hole in his heart and underwent lifesaving open-heart surgery when he was just 14 months old in April 2005.
His condition was discovered to be more serious after doctors at Newcastle Freeman Hospital discovered his heart defect was causing his bowel to narrow.
Luke, who lives in Pennywell, made a strong recovery after corrective surgery and was given the all-clear when he was aged two, much to mum Jane’s relief.
Today, Luke, who attends St Cuthbert’s Primary School, loves nothing more than having a kickaround or playing for the SAFC Foundation where he’s in defence.
Mum, Jane Strong, 25, said: “He’s always loved football since he could walk and never stops talking about it.
“Even though he plays defence he still manages to score a few goals.”
She added: “He’s doing really well and was named Manager’s Player of the Year 2010/2011 for the SAFC Foundation team.
“He knows so much about it as well. He can tell you all about the players and where they come from.
“It’s amazing when you see how quickly he goes and how fast he runs. You would never know what he’s been through,” added Jane who works at Pennywell Post Office.
Luke even dedicates his goals to his much loved great-grandad who died two years ago.
Jane said: “Whenever Luke scores a goal he always says ‘that’s for grandad’. He was really proud of him.”
Luke now has to attend a hospital check-up just once a year with his next one is due in October.
Jane said: “I still get a bit nervous before his check-ups because you just don’t know what they are going to say.
“But he has so much energy, he runs around and never gets out of breath and he always has colour in his face. He’s really healthy.”