DUNVALE tot Ellie McAuley jumped into 2019 by celebrating one whole year with her brand new heart!
Last January saw Ellie undergo a life saving operation and one year on, the three year old is fully recovered - happy, full of energy and attending pre-nursery school!
The Guardian first brought you the story of Ellie and her parents Stephen and Joanne two years ago as they desperately waited for a date to be fixed for Ellie's open heart surgery.
Ellie was born with one of the world's rarest medical conditions, called Transposition of the Arteries, which means her heart arteries were effectively the wrong way round.
The condition was complicated further as she was also born with Downs Syndrome.
Ellie's condition was so rare she is only the second person in medical history to suffer this particular condition.
The brave little girl came through her heart operation with flying colours and according to her proud and relieved parents: "You would never know to look at her how much she has come through.
“She is back to her normal self!"
Stephen and Joanne postponed the surgery until after Christmas last year as they wanted Ellie to have a normal Christmas.
This year, they celebrated Christmas to the full with no anxious waiting or worries.
Stephen and Joanne said: "Ellie effectively has a new heart this year and it has given her a new lease of life.
"She is full of energy and she is like a completely different baby.
"We were able to enjoy Christmas and New Year with no trips to the hospital or upcoming surgeries hanging over us.
"Ellie has exceeded the cardiologist's expectations, she just continues to come on leaps and bounds.
"Everyone is so pleased with her progress and although we still have to take Ellie for check-ups, they are less frequent, around once every six months.
"Ellie is able to live a normal life now.
“She never stops talking and she is attending Busy Bees Nursery.
"We are hoping to enrol her at Dunclug Nursery in September.
"We can't thank all the medical staff involved with Ellie's care enough. We just want to say a massive thank you.
"We had been waiting for this operation since the day Ellie was born and we are so grateful for all the help we have received along the way from family and friends."