She may only be five, but brave Lacey Mengham has already been through more than a lot of people.
When she was born, a team of doctors discovered that the youngster had just half a heart.
Lacey was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which means the left side of her heart didn’t develop properly.
During her young life Lacey has already had to undergo three operations – and a plastic shunt has been installed in her heart to improve blood flow in her body.
But Lacey, of Little Green Avenue, West Leigh, doesn’t let her problems stop her attempting to lead a normal life.
She goes to St Alban’s Primary School, in Havant, and her doting mum Carrie Rapley-Mengham says she remains upbeat.
‘She’s a real fighter,’ she says.
‘She asks a lot of questions about her condition and you try your best to answer them without upsetting her.
‘Every day is an emotional struggle.
‘I’ve been told that Lacey’s heart may not be good enough in 10 years time so she may have to go on the transplant list.
‘I just take each day as it comes and I’m vigilant about what she does and the things she can’t do.
‘She’s been asking me as well about getting her ears pierced but the doctors say it’s too much of a risk because it may cause her blood to become infected.
‘When Lacey was born it was the most traumatic time of my life,’ explains Carrie.
‘Everything happened so fast.
‘I cannot thank the medical staff at Southampton General Hospital enough for saving my daughter’s life.
‘She’s such an intelligent young girl. She means the world to me.’
Lacey has reason to be all smiles at the moment – Carrie and her sister-in-law Lindsey Brown took part in a race around Worthing for a charity which helps to support people with the same condition as her.
The family duo managed to raise an incredible £992 for Little Hearts Matter as a result of completing the challenging 5k race.
‘Taking part in the run was extremely challenging but it was great fun,’ Carrie explains.
‘I’m delighted that we made it across the finish line and raised so much money.’
Carrie has been so inspired by what Lacey has been through that she now has plans to help the charity more in the future.
‘Hopefully now I can take part in more events for the charity.
‘I’m always on the look-out for what it’s doing next.’
For more information visit lhm.org.uk