At best, Morgan Doyle was expected to live until she was 13 or 14 years old.
But the youngster is preparing to celebrate her 15th birthday, with a mix of joy, relief and heartbreak for parents Michelle Dunnill and Ronald Doyle.
Morgan was left brain damaged after taking seriously ill aged two.
She’s unable to walk or talk and needs full-time care.
The original diagnosis of Leigh’s Disease, a rare neurometabolic disorder that affects the central nervous system, predicted she would live only until she was in her early teens. However, she was later told by medics that she didn’t have that condition, though Michelle says the cause of her condition remains a mystery.
And although she still has several medical concerns to contend with, she will now be able to carry on into later life. Michelle, 36, says her family spent about a decade believing Morgan would not see this milestone.
She said: “We lived for years with the knowledge our little girl wouldn’t live to see her 15th birthday.
“It’s wonderful and heartbreaking all at once. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.”
The Arbroath teenager’s medical concerns began in July 2003 when she developed a fever and was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Morgan quickly deteriorated at Ninewells and started to vomit blood.
She was rushed to Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children in a critical condition. She was put on life support for two weeks while her parents dealt with her prognosis.
Michelle, a full-time carer, said: “It’s been hard, looking at her and thinking about what could have been. It’s heartbreaking — she was born healthy.
“And we’ve had to make so many tough decisions — decisions that could have led to her dying.
“It’s been terrifying every time she’s needed a procedure.”
Michelle added that Morgan was one of the happiest people she knew and a joy to be around — and, with her love of singer Harry Styles, a normal teenager in a lot of ways.
She met her favourite boy band, One Direction, last September and was overjoyed to get a kiss from Harry.
“Seeing her face was an absolute joy and it made me so emotional,” Michelle said.