The parents of a seriously ill young woman have thanked the 'brilliant' staff at Sheffield Children's Hospital who have saved her life 'many times'.
Leanne Levesley, from Handsworth, was diagnosed with Rett syndrome aged two, leaving her unable to walk or speak, and requiring constant care.
The 20-year-old has undergone numerous operations, including having full length rods inserted into her spine, and she also has epilepsy which causes daily fits.
As she prepares for the transition to adult care, her parents have expressed their heartfelt gratitude to everyone at the hospital for not just keeping her alive but being like an 'extended family' over the last 18 years.
Leanne's dad Neil said: "From the start to finish they've been absolutely brilliant, from the porters to the top doctors.
"She's had lots of operations over the years and been in almost every ward, and we've really got to know these people. They've become like an extended family.
"Leanne can't speak but she loves being with the staff and she's always smiling when she's there. There are teachers who came and read stories to her and play people who come and play with her.
"All we can say is how lucky we are to have Sheffield Children's Hospital. Thank you all."
Neil, who worked as an engineer before becoming a full-time carer, said the hospital had saved her life 'many times', including on one occasion about five years ago when her heart temporarily stopped beating and they were able to get it pumping again.
He reserved a special mention for Dr Peter Baxter, who has been Leanne's main consultant over the years and 'was always there when we needed help'.
Rett syndrome is a genetic disorder affecting around one in 12,000 girls, but rarely affecting boys.
It affects children's development, limiting their mobility, communication skills and other brain functions, and can cause life-threatening complications.
Although it is present from birth, the symptoms are not usually immediately apparent and the condition is often only diagnosed when they fail to show the expected development like crawling and walking.
John Somers, chief executive of Sheffield Children's Hospital, said: "We are touched that this family has taken the time to thank us in this way. We are privileged to work with young people, often getting to know them and their families over a number of years.
"As well as treating health conditions, we are treating people. So our staff understand that kindness and compassion are just as important as high quality safe care.
"We greatly appreciate Mr Levesley's kind words and wish his family all the best for the future."
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