Seafar youngster born 16 weeks premature is taking on life one step at a time

A Seafar girl born weighing just 1.3lbs has confounded doctors who warned she might never walk - by walking 12 miles to raise cash for the medics who saved her.

Clara Healey has come a long way after being born 16 weeks premature

Clara Healy, now aged three, was delivered 16 weeks early and weighed the same as half a bag of sugar.

Doctors warned she might never walk - if she survived at all - but brave Clara battled through and has completed half her target of walking 24 miles to raise cash for hospitals which helped her.

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Clara took her first steps in December last year, three months before her third birthday - but the lockdown meant the tot, who is shielding due to suffering chronic lung disease, was cooped up inside for months.

Now she is able to be out and about a bit more with parents Sophie Cameron and Corey Healy.

Sophie’s waters broke beneath the abortion limit of 24 weeks - meaning that medics could have made a decision not to resuscitate tiny Clara if she failed to meet a strict criteria.

But the tot pulled through, despite becoming so ill that at one point her parents were told palliative care would be given, and she spent the first six months of her life in hospital.

She was born 16 weeks early, and Sophie had to wait another three weeks before she could cuddle her tiny daughter.

Sophie, who works at Greenfaulds High, said: “Clara was nearly three when she started walking, we were told she would never get there.

“I don’t think you are ever mentally prepared for anything like that but we had faith and always hoped for the best.

“We were told ‘we will take it day by day’.”

Sophie had a healthy pregnancy with no complications, up until her waters broke early and an infection went undetected leading to septicaemia and Clara’s waters being discoloured.

The unlucky combination which has around a two per cent chance of happening, according to medics who looked after her.

Clara was delivered by emergency C-section at Wishaw General Hospital, but as well as being premature, she was seriously ill - and has global learning delay as a result, including being non-verbal and suffering from chronic lung disease.

Sophie said: “If she had been born before we reached 24 weeks, babies are scored out of ten and we faced the possibility she may not have been resuscitated.

“She was born at 10.30am, but even if it had been 11 hours earlier and she had not met that criteria for being born so early, she might not have been resuscitated.

“The doctors said the chance of this happening was around two per cent, almost the same chance as winning the lottery. It’s really scary but it is extremely rare.”

She was also treated at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow, and at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Before the lockdown, Clara was doing well at nursery and enjoying playing with other kids in a mainstream environment, but when it is possible she will start at a nursery for tots with special educational needs (SEN).

Sophie and Corey were engaged earlier this year after winning a promotion on Capital FM, and plan to have Clara as their bridesmaid, celebrating the fact she can walk after such an uncertain future.

Sophie said: “It is amazing.”

She began taking the tot out for walks when restrictions on shielding were lifted, in a bid to raise funds for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

So far Clara has walked 12 miles, but hopes are high she will be able to complete another 12 miles at her own pace before the end of the month.

Clara is very close to reaching her £2500 target, to make a donation can visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sophie-mcarthur5.