South Shields battler Llana has gift of life as she toasts fifth birthday

A battling South Tyneside youngster had the best present of all on a milestone birthday - the gift of life.

Anxious loved ones were left praying for a miracle when Llana Qazi clung onto life in a coma when her body rejected her donor heart last November.

But after receiving heart transplant surgery for the second time in her short life, the tenacious youngster was happy to cake centre stage on her fifth birthday.

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She was surrounded by friends and family as she blew out the candles on a well-deserved birthday cake at a special party at Frydays fish and chip shop in South Shields, which is owned by her doting parents Mohammad and Shazeb Qazi.

The little fighter was showered with gifts and cards as party-goers serenaded her with strains of ‘Happy Birthday to You’.

Llana had her first heart transplant when she was just a few months old after being born with cardiomyopathy, which meant her heart muscles were not strong enough to work on their own.

She was placed back on the organ donor waiting list after health setback and her family remain eternally thankfully that a new heart was found.

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She has continued to face adversity with a beaming smile - and now her family are hoping she could look forward to plenty more happy occasions as she looks ahead to a brighter future.

Delighted dad Mohammad Qazi said: “It’s been a very exciting day for her.

“It has been busy but she has enjoyed herself. She is a very courageous girl.”

Llana will be the star of the show again in July when she acts as a flagbearer in the British Transplant Games.