SHE first won our hearts through her bravery when faced with numerous operations.
Now 10-year-old Lucie Warren has been rewarded for her strength by winning a national inspirational kids competition.
Lucie, of Chestnut Avenue, Bedhampton, has a rare condition called Goldenhar syndrome, which meant her jaw and throat area did not develop properly while she was in the womb, as previously reported in The News.
Her airways did not open, and at just nine days old Lucie had to have a tracheotomy to allow her to breathe.
Having been in and out of hospital for treatment her whole life, Lucie is currently undergoing major reconstructive surgery, which involved having a section of bone taken out of her hip and placed inside her jaw.
Her bravery has amazed everyone she knows which is why mum Louise, 30, nominated her for the Big Thank You Child of the Year Award, run by Practical Parenting Magazine.
After impressing the judges enough to make the final three, Lucie was then crowned winner of the national competition by public vote.
She was invited to an award ceremony to receive her certificate and enjoy afternoon tea with the magazine’s editor Daniella Delaney.
Louise said: ‘Lucie was speechless when I told her that she’d won.
‘I don’t think she realises how brave she is, so this really helped her to see how well she is coping and how proud of her we all are.
‘It’s been a massive confidence boost for her too. She’s taken her award into school and is on their hall of fame now – the whole thing has just made her feel really special.’
As part of her reconstructive surgery, Lucie has to turn screws in the side of her face every day to reopen the wound and encourage the bone insert to grow.
She still has two years of surgery to undergo before her jaw will be fully functional and her airways open.
Louise added: ‘It’s a long, drawn out process which happens stage-by-stage rather than quickly, and that means that it’s always on her mind.
‘She does get stressed about it when she knows she’s going in for another operation, and it can make her grumpy because she knows it’s going to be painful.
‘But this gave her a break from all that and a bit of time to relax and enjoy herself.’