Poppy-Anne is my little ray of sunshine, says proud mother

LOOK HOW FAR YOU'VE COME: Stacey-Anne Attwood at home with her daughter, who has faced a series of illnesses throughout her life.
LOOK HOW FAR YOU'VE COME: Stacey-Anne Attwood at home with her daughter, who has faced a series of illnesses throughout her life.

The mother of a child given no chance of survival says she continues to cherish every moment with her after she reached her fifth birthday.

Poppy-Anne Attwood was born 11 weeks premature, weighing just 2lb 1/2 oz.

Her mother, Stacey-Anne, from Constable Road in Sudbury, was told she was so small she was unlikely to live.

“I was very unwell during my pregnancy, but I thought it was normal,” said Stacey-Anne.

“Then at 28 weeks, I was told I had pre-eclampsia. Doctors said it was a life-or-death situation and they had to deliver the baby to save me.”

Suffering high blood pressure, she under went an emergency caesarian section at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

Although tiny Poppy-Anne was breathing, she was quickly whisked away to intensive care.

“I saw her very briefly and then was worrying all night about whether she was alive or not,” said Stacey-Anne.

“She would stop breathing all the time and it was a case of taking every minute as it came.”

Doctors discovered Poppy-Anne had a heart murmur, a cyst on her brain and a haemorrhage behind her left eye. But after six weeks, she was allowed home.

“It was very frightening bringing her home as she was still only 3lb 6oz,” said her 24-year-old mum.

“She had severe reflux and could not keep her food down, so was back in hospital in a week.”

This cycle of hospital visits continued over the next five years.

She still has breathing problems and has a rare condition known as glucokinase diabetes, which is being investigated by the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust Hospital.

“She has always been ill – it is like her little body is attacking itself,” said Stacey-Anne.

“It does affect her life significantly as she can’t do lots of things other children do.”

At times, she has to take extended breaks from going to Tudor Primary School – she had four weeks off before Christmas – and struggles to keep up with her two-year-old sister, Keeley.

But despite the difficulties she faces, Poppy-Anne always has a smile on her face.

“She is my little ray of sunshine and I think what she has overcome is a miracle,” said her mum.

“She is a true inspiration, has a smile like magic and has such a strong will.”

Earlier this week, Poppy-Anne had a consultation ahead of an operation to fix a squint which affects both her eyes.

“I feel blessed that she has survived after being given no hope,” said Stacey-Anne.

“She just gets on with it and copes well within herself in spite of everything.”