Although he was born with only half a heart George Sutcliffe has always tried to live life to the full.
And despite medics predicting he would not live past the age of six, he has delighted everyone by beating the odds and this month celebrates his 18th birthday.
He was diagnosed with a rare congenital condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome before he was born, and at just six days old he underwent his first operation.
To put his survival in perspective, of the 50 children with the condition treated at Leeds General Infirmary, he is the sole survivor.
At one point in 2013 his life hung by a thread as two hospitals refused to perform further surgery due to the risks involved.
The 14-year-old was blue in the face, on permanent oxygen and his prospects for recovery were bleak.
His parents were advised to begin preparing for the worst and got in touch with the Forget Me Not Hospice.
But now he is living the life of an almost ordinary teen thanks to ground-breaking surgery lasting 13 hours at the Children’s Heart Unit, Freeman Hospital in Newcastle in 2013, which extended his life expectancy by a further 25 years.
The following year Rayne said: “It’s a miracle. This time last year, I was planning his funeral, which is not what any parent wants to do. I would put on a brave face at home and then when I was driving, I’d pull over and cry my eyes out.”
But the remarkable youngster has come through the most difficult of starts in life and now is trying to live life as a normal teenager.
Rayne, 48, of Manchester Road, Linthwaite, said: “George has had five open heart procedures, including two that were abandoned.
“Without the British Heart Foundation’s research, George would not be here today.
“He turned 18 on 11 February which is a major milestone considering he wasn’t expected to live past the age of six and then in 2011 only given a few months to live until Freeman hospital in Newcastle saved his life and hopefully extended it for more than two decades.
“On Saturday, we held an 18th birthday party for him at Broad Oak Bowling Club, Linthwaite, attended by over 100 friends and family.
“He is doing extremely well at the moment, attending Kirklees College and helping his dad occasionally at work . He is also learning to drive . He is doing really well.”