AFTER being told she may never walk, miracle baby Faith Wilthew is putting her best foot forward for charity.
In 2000, at just 20 weeks pregnant, Kelly Wilthew, 31, was dealt the devastating blow that her child was growing in the womb with a rare tumour.
The tumour, saccrococygeal terratoma, affects 0.5 per cent of pregnancies and can cause death in the womb.
Medics said there was a 50 per cent chance of survival and recommended Kelly, then 18, had a termination.
Kelly, of Ushaw Moor, said: “Termination was not an option for us. I hoped that she would be okay.”
When Kelly went into labour six weeks early, she realised how serious the situation was.
“The tumour was so big that my body thought the baby had fully grown and was ready to be born,” she said.
“When she was born we were told that not only did she have a huge, visible tumour outside of her tiny body, but also a huge one inside.
“It was heartbreaking.”
Doctors told the family to prepare for the worst and the next night, as they gathered round the newborn child, Kelly decided to name her Faith.
“I prayed that she would be a fighter, that’s why we called her Faith.”
At barely two days old Faith was taken to the operating theatre and eight gruelling hours later the family was told it had been a success.
But medics said they did not know what the extent of the damage would be she may never be able to walk.
After 15 days in intensive care, the little fighter was allowed to come home.
Now, 12 years later, Faith, a pupil at Durham School for Girls, lives day to day with the lasting impact of the illness.
But in spite of the daily medication and the pains the tumour has left her with, Faith has blossomed.
Kelly said: “After everything she has been through, she’s achieved so much and has turned a negative situation into something positive.
“She’s incredibly determined in everything she does.”
Next month, Kelly and Faith will be taking on St Cuthbert’s Hospice Paws For A Cause walk with four-month-old chihuahua cross breed, Gem.
Kelly said: “Faith has so much empathy for other people and does a lot of charity work to help people in less fortunate situations.”
Paws for a Cause takes place on Sunday, October 7, at Houghall Woods in Durham for a three mile stroll.
Entry fee is £10 per dog. To register, visit www.stcuthbertshospice.com.