BRAVE Neve Rees-Burton has defied doctors who said her rare condition would dramatically shorten her life.
Physicians said that the youngster wouldn’t live past infancy after she was diagnosed with Joubert Syndrome, a brain malformation, at just eight weeks.
Now, aged nine, the Keelman’s Way pupil is a happy little girl with a wicked sense of humour.
That’s why her mum, Joanne Rees, has nominated her for Child of Courage in this year’s Pride of South Tyneside Awards.
Mrs Rees put Neve up for the accolade, which is sponsored by South Shields-based Harlow Printing, saying: “Neve was born with a rare syndrome affecting only about 500 worldwide.
“Diagnosis was bleak, if she lived through infancy she would never reach the most basic milestones, like holding her head up, rolling over and sitting, but she is now nine and can sit, has learned to feed herself, can walk short distances using a frame and has recently learned to ‘speak’ using a personal communication aid.”
Neve, who lives with her mum, stepdad Paul and nine-month-old sister Isla Rhiannan in Prince Edward Grove, South Shields, uses a special computer to communicate with her loved ones and has achieved things doctors never thought she would.
Mrs Rees, an operations assistant at the Customs House in South Shields, said: “When Neve was born, the doctors basically told me that she wouldn’t live through infancy, or that if she did, she would be like a newborn baby for the rest of her life.
“She used to be on a breathing monitor because she would stop breathing up to 30 times a night as well, but she’s not on that now.
“I’m insanely proud of everything she’s overcome and how well she’s coped with everything, and I’m yet to meet a person who hasn’t instantly fallen in love with her cheeky smile.”
Neve, whose dad is Stuart Burton, has developed a wicked sense of humour and loves slapstick comedy.
Mrs Rees added: “She’s got a really strange sense of humour and she’ll always laugh if someone falls over or anything like that.
“The teachers at her school say she loves skateboarding, but just because the kids skate into the walls – she’s absolutely wicked.
“Every little thing that Neve accomplishes is such an achievement for her, and she tries so hard to get everything right.
“She used to get quite frustrated about not being able to communicate what she wants, but ever since she got her special computer, she’s like a new girl. I’m just so proud of her.”