Hannah, 4, from North Wootton set to compete in British Transplant Games

Hannah Eke (4) is taking part in the transplant games. When Hannah was a baby she had a kidney trans

Hannah Eke (4) is taking part in the transplant games. When Hannah was a baby she had a kidney transplant - Hannah with her mum Clare Eke. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Like many young girls little Hannah Eke loves anything to do with ponies and princesses.

Hannah Eke (4) is taking part in the transplant games. When Hannah was a baby she had a kidney trans

Hannah Eke (4) is taking part in the transplant games. When Hannah was a baby she had a kidney transplant. Picture: Matthew Usher.

But unlike most carefree children her age, the four-year-old knows what it is to battle with life-changing illness.

When she was just a few days old she was diagnosed with dysplastic kidneys, which meant both her kidneys were underdeveloped and could not function.

At the age of two she underwent a successful kidney transplant and – now full of life and laughter – is set to participate in the British Transplant Games, which start tomorrow in Liverpool.

When Hannah, of North Wootton, became poorly just a few hours after being born at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, she was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit and early tests indicated an issue with her kidneys.

Her diagnoses came after numerous scans were carried out.

Struggling to feed, Hannah had a gastric tube fitted and, when she was three months old, had a gastrostomy button inserted so food and drink could be pumped into her stomach.

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Her mother Clare, 37, said: 'They told us early on she needed a kidney transplant and she would have to go on dialysis before that. We didn't realise how much the kidneys do, they affect blood pressure and growth hormones are disrupted when they don't work.'

At around eight months old Hannah was given a peritoneal dialysis so the family could manage her dialysis at home. The summer before the little girl received her much-needed transplant her mother said she was 'in and out of hospital' with infections.

'When she was ill it was hard going out. When she's being sick all the time people don't understand. It's hard I think for people to understand the impact it has. My family and close friends are supportive but it's difficult to know what it's like unless you live with it day in, day out,' said Mrs Eke.

She added she wanted to thank the QEH for the continued support her daughter, who also received treatment in Nottingham, and the family had been given.

Hannah had not been on the list for long when, just two days before Christmas in 2013, the family received the longed-for call to say a kidney had been found.

'We hadn't got used to her being on the list. It was strange, it was quite surreal really.

'The only way I could describe it when she had that new kidney it was like someone put new batteries in her. She was a very happy baby, despite everything she was always happy. But it wasn't until she had the new kidney we could see how different she was. She suddenly started developing a lot quicker, she was in catch up mode really.

'She used to be quite sleepy all the time, she suddenly had all this energy and her personality came out.

'She developed quite an addiction to cheese. That was one of the first things she asked for. She has a huge appetite now. It's nice for her to be enjoying normal things that four-year-olds do.'

The whole family, who are attending the games with the Nottingham Children's Renal Unit team, including Hannah's father Richard and seven-year-old brother Ben will be involved in the Liverpool games. They will all be walking the 3km donor run.

Hannah, who starts at North Wootton Primary School in September, said: 'Nanny has made us green tutus and Daddy has to wear one too.'

She will be participating in five events including an obstacle race, ball throw, speed stacking, a 25m run and the long jump.

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