Little Elliott Higgins spent the first three months of his life battling for survival.
Weighing just one pound and 14 ounces the tot was born at just 25 weeks at Leeds General Infirmary.
He spent his first month in intensive care at Leeds General Infirmary with his doting parents Bobby and Natalie at his bedside.
And now the family, who live near Drighlington, are celebrating the healthy youngster’s first birthday at home and they have set their sights set of fundraising for the vital neonatal services provided by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the charity Bliss.
After being given just a 40 per cent chance of survival when his mum went into labour at 24 weeks, Elliott was born a week later with a bleed on his brain that could have left him paralysed on his left side on January 15 2014.
He spent his first three months at LGI and Leeds St James’s Hospital suffering with chronic lung disease, visual impairment and metabolic bone disease, but he is now fully mobile and loud and proud marking his birthday.
Natalie said: “I struggled really badly at first when it happened. I didn’t see how I would cope going to hospital every single day – you can’t stay there as a mum when your baby’s on oxygen.
“The nurses don’t just care for your baby but they also look after the parents who are sat in there day after day.”
The couple’s quest for a baby started nine years ago but it was only following IVF treatment that Elliott was conceived. He now weighs over 20lbs.
Natalie and Bobby are now desperate to raise money for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s neonatal service and premature charity Bliss, for whom Natalie now volunteers.
“He’s not a quiet one, he’s very boisterous, and he’s very much a chunky little boy,” Natalie added.
Bobby is set to run the London Marathon and an 80s fundraising night has been organised at The Old Barn at Esholt, Shipley, on March 21.
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for Bobby Higgins.
TWO CAUSES THAT HELPED LITTLE ELLIOTT
* One in every nine babies in the UK is born either premature or sick, according to charity Bliss. It is the UK charity that works to provide care and support for all premature and sick babies and their families. For details visit: www.bliss.org.uk
* Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s neonatal services is one of the largest in the UK, caring for around 1,800 babies each year. Many of these babies need intensive care or surgery. For further information visit www.leedsth.nhs.uk