An eight-year-old girl born premature weighing less than a bag of sugar has made a stunning recovery and now climbs mountains – including Snowdon.
Brave Poppy Godsland scaled Mount Snowdon with her father earlier this month to complete a remarkable turnaround after her parents were told she was not expected to survive.
She was born weighing just 1lb 9oz and suffered from a rare bowel condition that meant she spent the first eight months of her life in hospital, undergoing four operations.
Following the procedures Poppy was left with just five per cent of her intestine.
Her parents even had discussions with consultants on allowing her home to die.
But after five years of hard treatment – which included being on a drip for for most of the day – she was given the medical all-clear.
And just three years later she has now developed a love of the outdoors – which has culminated in scaling the highest peak in Wales with her father.
Dad Ben Godsland, 35, of Cheltenham, Glos., completed the challenge with his daughter on April 16 in just two hours and 38 minutes – well under the four hour average.
He described Poppy as a “true inspiration” to get where she has after her difficult start in life.
He said: “I am really proud of her. We have gone from having a conversation with a consultant that she may have to come home to die to this. It is remarkable.
“She truly is an inspiration to me. People are amazed at what she does after everything she has gone through and we both really enjoy our adventures together. She is genuinely a little legend.
“Everything she does amazes me. Even though she is my daughter and just eight she inspires me to keep going.”
Poppy was born at 27 weeks the size of her mother Emma’s hand with a condition known as Necrotising Enterocolitis, an inflammation of the bowel that can damage it so badly that parts of it die.
The rare and potentially fatal problem only affects around three in 10,000 babies.
At one stage doctors told her parents they might have to let her “fade away” – but Ben says that she can now live a normal life as long as they control her diet.
He said there mutual love of outdoor adventure was sparked during lockdown.
He added: “While we were in and out of lockdown I had Poppy over to stay and adopted her into hiking. Now every time she comes over we do an adventure – whether it be a mountain, waterfall or coastal path and walk.
“She always wanted to do Snowdon so we started doing the Beacon horse shoe – which is four mountains to see how she got on. She said she enjoyed it so we decided to go for it.
“The Snowdon climb went really well. I am ex army so have always adopted the same ethos to keep going and Poppy has got the same attitude. I don’t have to hold her hand or carry her and she doesn’t moan. She just gets on with it.
“Every time we have done an adventure she has really enjoyed it.”
Ben said that her despite her difficult start in life, there was now little holding her back.
He added: “I think it was when she was about five years old when she was cleared medically.
“She will always have small gut syndrome as 75 per cent of her gut died.
“She was on a drip for most of the day for years. We still have to be careful with certain food as certain things will go straight through her.
“For example any grapes will go through her within five minutes. But she knows what she can and can not have and does not let it bother her.
“She just gets on with life.”
Ben said he has his daughter to stay with him at weekends and they are always planning new adventures together.
He added: “It all started on Father’ Day last year. Because I was in to doing all the outdoor stuff I took her for a three hour walk and she said she really enjoyed it.
“I treated her to some hiking boots and jacket and now every weekend I have her we go out and do it.
“She picks and chooses. I don’t force her to do anything. But the next one we are going to do is the four waterfalls in Wales.
“She also fancies doing Snowdon again but making it to the top for sunrise. We are already practicing walking uphill with a headtorch on. There is nothing that can stop her.”
Giving her advice on hiking, Poppy said: “Don’t worry about the pain, just push through it, take plenty of water breaks, enjoy the views and you will be really, really happy when you reach the summit.”