A child's first day at school is a huge event for any parent, but for Maddie Farrell's mum and dad, it's a milestone they thought their little girl would never reach.
Maddie has amazed doctors with her recovery after she suffered a massive stroke in the womb before her birth - prompting doctors to believe she would never walk or talk.
But the little girl has stunned medics by using the healthy side of her brain to walk and talk, and is about to start school.
Lisa, 39, and Lee, 35, from Liverpool, were told that Maddie had suffered a stroke in the womb just after Lisa gave birth.
"When Maddie was born I expected to hear crying but there was none of that," says Lisa. "She was rushed off by the nurses and I didn't see her until she was 12 hours old and she was on a ventilator.
"We didn't know what to expect or what was going to happen. Then she was taken to the Alder Hey Children's Hospital, where they told us she had the stoke 10 days earlier - when she was still in the womb.
When the doctor told us I couldn't believe it, I though a stroke was something that only happened to older people.
"She had all these wires coming out of her and stuck to her head and she'd also shown some signs of seizures."
Maddie remained in hospital for over five weeks and when she returned home, her parents were faced with the prospect of buying a wheelchair and looking into full-time care for their daughter.
But the couple, who have three other children, Aaron, 20, Georgia, 11 and Rhys, 10, were left stunned as Maddie started to learn to walk and talk
"She was seven months old when she sat up on her own for the first time," says Lisa. "Up until then she had never given an indication of hope - she had never babbled like other babies or shown an interest in toys.
"We were crying and telling everyone about it. It might be something most people take for granted but for us it was so special."
Although Maddie does suffer from anxiety, she started school today, much to her mum and dad's delight.
"It's absolutely brilliant. We never thought she would make it into mainstream school," says Lisa. "After she was born we were told that, if she did survive, not to expect her to ever walk, talk or communicate.
"Now, she'll be able to run through those school gates. Thinking about everything she has overcome fills me with pride. We've been told it's so rare for a child to come on so far after everything she's been through. She's one-in-a-million."
For more information, visit the Childhood Strokes Support Group online at Childstrokesupport.com.
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