A mum whose premature daughter had to spend 101 days in hospital is running the London Marathon for the charity which helped her cope.
Hannah Cowley, 32, gave birth to her daughter Georgina just 26 weeks into her pregnancy which led to heart problems, collapsed lungs and bleeding on the brain.
But Georgina, who weighed less than a bunch of bananas, battled through three months at hospital and is now a healthy eight-year-old.
Hannah, who lives in Bicester, used a forum run by special care baby charity Bliss to get advice from other parents in a similar position.
She said: “We were very lucky. Our hospital journey wasn’t without scares, pain, tears and a lot of anguish, but the eight years have flown by and Georgina is just amazing.
“Without Bliss and the wonderful work they do, my princess wouldn’t be here.”
My body had forced her into this world and she was having to fight for her lifeHannah Cowley
Hannah hopes to raise more than £2,500 for Bliss as she tackles the famous 26-mile run on April 26.
“I wanted to give something back,” she said. “Whilst also fulfilling a life-long dream of running the London marathon.
“And I want to raise money to help other tiny babies, helping them and their parents get through the most traumatic time of their lives.”
Hannah returned from holiday in 2005 with an ache in her stomach but after dismissing them as ‘pregnancy pains’ she was told she had actually gone in to labour.
“I was given two options but in reality there was only one,” Hannah said. “One was to let the labour continue and hope for the best but in all honesty that would have been classed as a miscarriage.
“Or to have a cervical stitch placed to pull the cervix back together and to take medication to stop the contractions.”
Hannah had no choice but to give birth three weeks later by caesarean section and Georgina had to be resuscitated several times and then rushed to a special care unit.
She said: “I felt a whole range of emotions, but most of all fear and failure. Failure that as a mother I wasn’t able to protect my little girl and my body had forced her into this world and she was having to fight for her life. There was nothing I could do, but sit and wait.
“The first time I saw her properly, I literally couldn’t stand it. The heat, the constant beeps of the machines, I was so overwhelmed that I had to ask to leave.
“One week after she was due, she came home and we are lucky. We now have a lively, stroppy, beautiful eight year old girl who - albeit small - has no underlying health issues.”
Hannah went on to have Evan, four, and Abigail, five, without any problems.
Caroline Davey, chief executive of Bliss, said: “I wish Hannah the best of luck taking on this incredible challenge.
“She is part of a team of dedicated runners who are raising money and awareness for premature and sick babies.
“The vital funds they raise will help us improve the lives of babies throughout the UK.”
Click here to help Hannah reach her fundraising target.