It’s a birthday she celebrated like any other young teen... but it’s one Ellie Bird’s family was told she might never see.
Ellie was born with a congenital heart defect which left her fighting for her life as a baby and seen her featured in The Gazette many times having continued to defy the odds.
Ellie was just nine days old when she underwent gruelling 10-hour open heart surgery, and doctors feared she might not survive her first weeks.
The Gazette has been there for her major milestones ever since, including her first day at Breck Primary School in Poulton and then at Hodgson Academy, and today for her first days as a teenager.
At the weekend she partied with her friends and family to mark her latest landmark –her 13th birthday.
Her proud mum Janet said: “Ellie’s doing really well.
“She’s had a really good 18 months, health-wise, though she’s still being monitored at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital once a year and at Blackpool Victoria Hospital every four months.
“She’s really doing remarkably well.”
Ellie, of Poulton, celebrated her birthday with a party at St Hilda’s Church Hall in Carleton on Saturday, with her friends, Janet and her partner Pete and her brother Jordan, 19.
Janet added: “I am absolutely so proud of Ellie.
“She is an inspiration to me and to a lot of people around her.
“She’s just your average teenage girl, but she’s my little fighter – she always has been and she always will be.”