SHE’S spent her whole life in and out of hospital, breathes through a tube in her neck and has had a bone transplant inside her jaw.
And now brave Lucie Warren has been rewarded for her strength through it all by reaching the final three in a national inspirational kids competition.
The nine-year-old suffers from a rare condition called Goldenhar syndrome, which meant her jaw and throat area did not develop properly while she was in the womb.
Her airways did not open, and at nine days old Lucie had to have a tracheotomy to allow her to breathe.
Since then, she’s had numerous hospital appointments for treatment and infections, and is now undergoing major surgery to reconstruct her half-developed jawbone.
Lucie’s mum, Louise, 29, said: ‘It’s been hard for her but she’s been so good.
‘She just gets on with it, and has coped brilliantly with something that most adults couldn’t bear.
‘She does get upset sometimes when she finds it difficult to eat but she hardly ever moans and has been so brave through everything.’
The reconstructive surgery involved Lucie having a section of bone taken out of her hip and placed inside her jaw.
Every day she has to turn screws in the side of her face to reopen the wound and encourage the bone to grow. And she still has at least three more operations to undergo before her jaw will be fully functional and her airways open.
In recognition of how well she is coping, Louise nominated her for the Big Thank You Child of the Year Award, run by Practical Parenting Magazine.
In her entry form Louise, of Chestnut Avenue, Bedhampton, spoke of her pride in Lucie, pointing out that she has been through more at the age of nine than most would in a lifetime.
Lucie’s courage won over the hearts of the judges and she is now one of three finalists. The winner will be selected by public vote.
‘It would be a huge boost to Lucie’s confidence if she won,’ Louise added.
‘And it would help her see just how well she’s done.
‘We’re all really proud of her, she has been so grown up about it all and no matter what the outcome of the competition is, she will always be a winner in our eyes.’
To vote for Lucie to win the title of child of the year in the Big Thank You Awards, and £200, see madeformums.com/ bigthankyou.
Voting closes on April 11.