A TEENAGE girl who once spent most of her life in a hospital bed has woken up to a whole new world – thanks to two new lungs and a hefty dose of courage.
Chloe Louise Angel Baker, winner of the Citizen’s Pride in Milton Keynes child of achievement award, was born on Christmas Day 14 years ago with cystic fibrosis.
By the age of ten her young lungs started to fail and, despite the best efforts of doctors, her health deteriorated rapidly.
“Our little angel was wasting away in front of us and there was nothing more we or the doctors could do for her,” said her mum Christine.
For the next three years Chloe spent more than half of her time in hospital, needing 24- hour oxygen, a ventilator while she slept and a wheelchair during the day.
Said Christine: “Chloe’s life was so reduced it was heartbreaking to see her. All she longed for was to run and play with her old school friends.”
But despite the daily grind of three long physio sessions, five nebulisers and 80 tablets, the brave youngster never failed to smile, she said.
“Even on the hardest of days there was always a smile on her face. It would and could have been so simple at times for her to just give in but she always said: ‘I will never stop fighting for my life.’”
Unable to eat and breathe at the same time, Chloe even had to be fed through a tube into her stomach.
Last year doctors agreed the youngster’s only chance was a double lung transplant.
But they warned her body was so fragile that she had only a 50 per cent chance of getting through the operation let alone surviving afterwards.
“This was so hard as at 13 years old Chloe had to make the decision about having the transplant, knowing she may never come out of the operation,” said Christine
But brave Chloe had no doubt and after a wait of just two weeks she was wheeled into theatre on January 31 this year.
The surgery was a success, though afterwards she faced another battle – to build up enough muscle in her wasted body to learn how to stand and walk again.
Today, Chloe is not only walking and running but, despite years of missed schooling, has caught up enough to study for her GCSEs.
She has even learned to ski at the Xscape’s Snozone. But her proudest achievement was the first time she walked her dog, Poppy.
Chloe has now developed diabetes but is tackling it with her trademark bravery.
“She is truly the most courageous person I’ve ever known,” said her mum.
> For details of other Pride in Milton Keynes winners turn to pages 42 & 43.