This time last year, little Amy Wolstenholme’s family were preparing themselves for the worst news imaginable.
Her mum Jade found a meningitis rash on the one-year-old’s body and she was rushed to Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital while fighting for her life.
Doctors told the family amputating Amy’s left leg was the only chance to stop the spread of the killer disease –but warned them they should prepare for the worst.
At the time the meningitis first struck, Amy and her brother Connor, six, had been eagerly awaiting their first Christmas together.
But 12 months and 40 operations later, the family can finally celebrate Amy’s first Christmas together in their home at Ravens Close, Poulton.
Miss Wolstenholme told The Gazette: “Christmas was cancelled last year and we just had to do the best we could for Connor.
“We spent last Christmas sat round her bedside and Amy was not with it and highly sedated. This Christmas feels nice and calm and we will be like a normal family and not in hospital.
“Now she laughs and jokes and entertains everyone and she is a normal toddler which is great to see because it was my worst nightmare to see her going through so many operations.”
Amy returns to Alder Hey every Thursday for check-ups, and doctors have a 41st operation slated in for January.
The next procedure will include skin grafts to repair the damage left behind by the meningitis on her leg, arms and face and a procedure to ease the pressure some of her scars are under.
But despite all the operations to come, Miss Wolstenholme says the family are absolutely intent on enjoying this Christmas.
She added: “It means everything to me to have Christmas at home.
“This time last year I didn’t think we would get to this point because all the doctors looked me in the eye and said they didn’t know if she would make it.
“It’s a huge relief we are back together at home because we are a family again.
“It’s good just to wrap the presents and it is even more special because this year I have a pile for Connor and a pile for Amy.”
Jade, Amy and Connor will spend Christmas with their parents and grandparents this year.
Six-year-old Connor, a Carr Head Primary School pupil has also had his life turned upside down in a tumultuous year.
He said: “I’m looking forward to Christmas this year because Amy is here.
“It wasn’t nice last year because we were all in hospital but I’m happy we can all be together.”