A proud mum has praised her ‘miracle’ daughter for fighting back after a series of health problems.
Born weighing just 1lb 7oz, Anya Clarkson-McKenna has been nominated for a Best of Wearside Award for overcoming a series of setbacks from day one.
Now aged three, her bravery has seen her cope through laser eye surgery and more than 25 operations to help treat a bowel condition.
Anya was born at Sunderland Royal Hospital at just 25 weeks in July 2014, along with her twin sister Mya, who sadly passed away when she was five days old due to birth complications.
At just one day old, Anya was transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) for an operation on her bowel.
Then at just six weeks old, and weighing just 3lb, the brave little girl underwent a heart operation at the Freeman Hospital to help her get off a ventilator and to start her breathing independently.
But mum Amy Clarkson, who works for DWP in Washington, said it was not the end of surgery for little Anya.
She said: “Anya was having regular eye tests because of the oxygen she was on which can sometimes gorge the vessels of the eye and if untreated can cause blindness.
“As a result, Anya had to undergo laser eye surgery to save her sight at just 15 weeks old.
“Then when she was just one in September 2015, she had to have reconstructive surgery on her bowel - a 12 hour operation - and we were told she would be hospital for two weeks, but she came home after a week.”
Since then little Anya has underwent 25 anaesthetics and surgery to create a stoma.
Amy, 35, and Anya’s dad Graham McKenna, 38, from Chester-le-Street, said they were so proud of the way Anya has taken everything in her stride.
Amy added: “She has spent half of her life in hospital - in total spending 163 days in hospital - but is doing excellently now.
“She has been through a lot and we just think she is a miracle.
“Doctors even thought she might not walk because of a small anomaly on her vertebrate, called caudal regression syndrome, but she has proved them all wrong.
“We are so proud of her for managing to over come so much.
“She just puts a smile on everybody faces because she is such a happy and chatty little girl.”
This year’s Best of Wearside Awards have been sponsored by Gentoo as a partner sponsor and Stagecoach North East and Calsonic Kansei as category sponsors in the annual awards which look to reward outstanding people across Wearside and County Durham.
Don’t worry if you have yet to put your own favourites in the running for honours. You can nominate right up until Wednesday, February 28.
After that, the panel of judges will meet to draw up this year’s shortlist of contenders.
All of those who make the shortlist will be invited to the final at the Stadium of Light on Thursday, March 15, where they will find out if they have won.
To nominate, just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable.
Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into. Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).
Send entries to Lynn Wild by no later than February 28. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA.