A ten-year-old girl who was born with no kidneys and has endured 27 major operations is celebrating after having her final operation.
Alice Skinner, from Hartlepool, was born with stumps for kidneys after they failed to develop in the womb.
But after years of treatment, tests and surgery, she is now looking forward to her 11th birthday next month.
Celebrating: Alice Skinner has finally had her last operation after enduring 27 in the past ten years after she was born without kidneys
Her final operation took place two weeks ago after three years of dialysis affected her legs and caused them to become bowed.
Her father George, 41, said: 'There were times when we thought she wouldn’t make it.
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'We see each birthday as a milestone. We never thought we would see this far. She’s a proper grown-up little lady now too.'
Alice's condition affects just one baby in a million born in the UK and she came close to death many times.
All smiles: Alice enjoys playing on her local beach after recent surgery cured her of bowed legs
When she was six months old she became the youngest person in the UK to receive dialysis
Her family then made trips three times a week to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for dialysis as she waited for a transplant
Both parents were unsuitable as donors and doctors were running out of veins to place her on dialysis.
In April 2008, she finally had a transplant with an imperfect match as no perfect match could be found.
That operation allowed her to make up for lost time by drinking Coca Cola, eating chocolate and crisps and all the other food that had previously been banned.
However a year later she suffered a setback which saw her needing brain surgery after fluid build-up in her head.
Her father added: 'The surgeons were really quite surprised she got through it and said, "We don’t know how she’s still here".'
He continued: 'Being on dialysis for seven years took its toll on her. It affected her calcium levels because there was no absorption through kidneys, so her knees bowed out.
'That has just been corrected in an operation. She’s had two hinges put into both her knee caps to stretch them out.
“It’s a big operation, but she was looking forward to getting it done.
Proud: Alice's father George has spoken of her battle and said there were time when he was worried she wouldn't make it through
'After the operation she had an epidural for two days to make sure she had no pain and after that she was put on morphine, but she was out of hospital within days, tottering around the house on crutches.
'She’s had 27 operations in 10 years and that’s quite enough for anyone.
'We hope that’s the last big one though - she’ll need to have the hinges out at some point, but we would like the operations to stop now, thank you.'
Despite her problems Alice has taken up table-tennis, representing Newcastle as a member of the hospital's Children’s Transplant Games Team.
Last year, she travelled to Belfast for the British Transplant Games and won a silver medal.
She had previously been awarded a ‘Child of Courage’ award for her health problems when she was aged three.
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