WITH her wide, beaming smile no-one would know that little Lacey Mengham is seriously ill.
The youngster, who turns seven on Monday, has Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means the left-hand lower chamber didn’t form properly in the womb.
In her short life she has had three major operations. The first she had when she was a newborn baby, and the last one – which she almost didn’t survive – was 18 months ago.
Her fight for life isn’t over now. When she is a teenager and the heart she has is worn out from working overtime, she will have to go on the transplant register to get a new one.
She faces a long road to become healthy, and will be on medication all her life.
And to recognise her bravery, her good humour, and her enthusiasm for life, her grandad, Kevin Rapley, nominated her to be a Pompey mascot at the match against Morecambe at Fratton Park today.
Kevin, who lives near her in West Leigh, said: ‘She deserves something special, and when this great opportunity came up I told her I was going to put her forward.
‘We didn’t think she’d be here after her last operation.
‘It was touch and go, but since she had it she’s been unbelievable.
‘There are little things she can’t do but you wouldn’t really think there was anything wrong.’
‘She’s so energetic and from the moment she wakes up in the morning she starts chatting away.
‘When we told her she’d won the mascot place she asked if she’d be able to kick a ball at the goal.’
Lacey’s brother Keigan is a keen footballer, playing for one of Pompey’s own youth sides.
But it will be Kevin who accompanies Lacey to Fratton Park today to watch the Blues take on Morecambe.
‘It will be great to see her face when she’s on the pitch,’ he said.