A little girl whose birthmark was literally strangling her to death can finally smile after becoming the first person in the UK to trial a miracle drug.
Millie Field, three, was born with a small, blue mark on her face which doctors told her parents Michelle and Stuart was a bruise from a particularly speedy labour.
However, within a matter of days the mark had developed into an angry and ulcerated red growth which not only left Millie disfigured but was also forming a stranglehold on her windpipe, jaw and larynx.
At just 20 days old Millie was taken into intensive care where she spent the next six months.
At that point the birthmark, known as a hemangioma, had grown so large that Millie needed a tracheostomy just to breathe. The operation in June 2008 left her unable to make a sound.
But now, Millie can speak and smile like a typical toddler after her parents took a gamble a few days later on a wonder drug. She made such rapid improvement she was allowed home a few days later, with regular check-ups.
Bank worker Michelle, 37, from Rochford in Essex, said: ‘Millie is a little fighter. Right from the beginning she was not going to let this thing beat her and we are just so proud of everything she has had to overcome.
‘The results of the drug were instant. We could see before our very eyes that the birthmark was changing colour and getting smaller over a period of days. Now she is doing remarkably well. It’s completely changed her life.
‘I am just so grateful for everything the doctors and nurses have done for us in allowing Millie to live a totally normal life, which at one point we feared would never be possible.’