Filby youngster who was born weighing 1lb 1oz starts school in Caister
- Credit: Press Association Images
A little boy who weighed just 1lb 1oz (490g) at birth has defied the odds to start school.
Ethan Bird, now aged four, was not expected to survive when he was born at 26 weeks and became life-threateningly ill due to chronic lung disease of prematurity.
The youngster, of Filby, near Great Yarmouth, needed an emergency transfer to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge for lifesaving treatment when he was just nine months old.
Although his parents were warned that he may not survive, he was ventilated and eventually discharged on oxygen.
His doctors thought he may never walk or talk, but he has since taken his first steps and began communicating with noises and gesture after the birth of his baby brother Jude, now aged 20 months.
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Ethan has been admitted to the specialist hospital numerous times to have a gastrostomy tube fitted and for breathing support.
His parents Sarah Bird, 38, and her husband Scott, 42, are now excited to see Ethan start at John Grant School in Caister which caters for children with complex needs.
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He had gone to Little Blossoms Nursery in Filby.
Mrs Bird said: 'When we were told that Ethan needed to be transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in order to save his life we were extremely frightened.
'It seemed so far away for our baby to go - and we were worried that he might have to fight his battle alone.
'Once we arrived at the hospital, we were taken to the parents' room where they broke the devastating news that we might not be bringing our son home.
'But it was as if Ethan knew what they were telling us because suddenly he began fighting back.
'Thankfully, we were never far from Ethan's side as we were supported by The Sick Children's Trust which gave us free 'Home from Home' accommodation, just minutes from his cot in intensive care.
'Since that initial admission, we have been back to Addenbrooke's Hospital on a few occasions.
'We were told that Ethan may never be able to walk or talk but he's just started to walk and since having his little brother Jude around he's began communicating.
'We are so proud of him and how well he's doing.'
Ethan is now thriving and is currently only on oxygen throughout the night.
His parents said they were proud of him starting the next chapter of his life.
'I thought I'd be really tearful about Ethan starting school, but seeing how much he's come on since attending nursery has made me really excited about him taking this next big step,' said Mrs Bird, who works for Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, as does her husband.
'We know he's going to be just fine.'
Throughout Ethan's treatment, his family have been supported by The Sick Children's Trust charity at its free 'Home from Home' accommodation Acorn House, located at Addenbrooke's Hospital.
Acorn House Manager Abi Abdel-aal said: 'It's lovely to hear that Ethan has started school this month and is so excited about it. We can't wait to hear how he gets on!'