A very sweet sixteen for brave Charlotte

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When tiny Charlotte Curtis arrived 14 weeks premature and weighing just 1lb 10oz, doctors feared the worst.

But Charlotte is now celebrating her 16th birthday and her parents are overjoyed at marking the milestone they once thought they may never see.

Charlotte, of Crawford Avenue, Leyland, had to be delivered by Caesarean section on March 14, 1995 at just 26 weeks after her mum Sandra suffered problems.

Measuring just 12 inches from top to toe, Charlotte was so tiny and fragile, she could not be picked up and there were no clothes small enough to fit her.

As well as her size, Charlotte suffered a bleed on her brain, had a heart murmur and had to be on a ventilator for many weeks to help her with her breathing.

Dad Andrew, 44, said: “Charlotte was so incredibly tiny and she went through a real battle to survive. On many occasions, we feared we would lose her and it was touch and go for a while.

“At one stage both her lungs collapsed and she had a bleed on the brain. Doctors warned us at the time that if Charlotte did survive, she might not ever be able to go to mainstream school.”

Now a fit and healthy teenager, Charlotte is studying towards her GCSEs at Balshaw’s CE High School.

Mum Sandra, 46, who is now an oncology nurse at Royal Preston Hospital, said: “Nursing was always a career I was interested in, but after Charlotte spent five months in hospital, the experience gave me the push to go into nursing.

“Even when she was allowed home after five months in hospital, Charlotte had to have an oxygen cylinder to help her breathe until she was 13 months old.

“After that, she just slowly started gaining strength and even though her development was slower, she gradually caught up.

“We want to thank all the neonatal nurses and hospital staff who cared for her after she was born and supported us through a difficult time.”

Charlotte said: “I am just so glad I am here and if it wasn’t for the neonatal team, I would not have survived.”