Little Evie Clasper has the chance of a new life – after finally undergoing a vital heart transplant.
The brave three-year-old from Ingleby Barwick faced a race against time as her family endured an agonising wait for a donor.
Her worried parents, who have been at her bedside throughout, feared they would lose Evie without a transplant.
But now the youngster has had the op she so desperately needed.
Evie, whose fourth birthday is in June, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
This is a condition where the left side of the vital organ does not develop properly.
She has already endured “countless” operations, including major heart surgery, and has spent about a third of her short life in hospital.
Gallery: Evie Clasper
Evie has been in intensive care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and the 12-hour heart transplant took place over the weekend.
Dawn and Evie’s dad have shared the time spent with her at the hospital.
Dawn, 42, told the Gazette last night: “She has had a complete new heart.
“We still can’t believe it, we are in complete shock.
“She actually looks healthy. She looks pink for the first time in her life.
“I am very, very mixed up. I just don’t know how to feel. It hasn’t sunk in at all.
“For the first time she has got the chance of a full and happy life. We are going to have the little girl we never had. She has been ill since birth.”
She said that while they were happy that she had been given the chance of a new life, they really felt for the donor’s family.
She said: “You just don’t want to shout it from the rooftops or be seen to be too happy because somebody has lost their loved one and is on a very different journey.
“It is good news for us but not for somebody else.”
But the battle isn’t over yet for Evie.
Dawn said: “It is very early days at the moment. We are not out of the woods yet.”