Smallest Sheffield baby celebrates 21st

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Oh baby... just look at you now Kirsty.

The day your son or daughter turns 21 is a real cause for celebration.

And for the parents of Kirsty Tunnard, who reaches that milestone tomorrow, they’ve every reason to do so.

That’s because Kirsty, who grew up in Birley Moor Road, Frecheville, Sheffield, entered the world 10 weeks earlier than expected weighing just 1lb 6ozs.

At the time she was the smallest baby born at the Northern General Hospital, so small in fact that she was immediately transferred for specialist care at the Jessop.

Doctors informed her mum Tracy and dad Darren that she may not survive the first 24 hours.

But as the anxious parents watched over their daughter, almost invisible beneath the tangle of pipes and wires connected to her frail body, she began to fight. The hours became days and the days turned into weeks as Kirsty continued to punch above her tiny weight.

And thanks to the care and attention Kirsty received she made it through.

During her time in hospital Kirsty had three operations and was left with cerebral palsy and a mild haemiplegia down her left side affecting co-ordination and her hand-eye control.

But nothing could stop her from doing things girls do – things like gymnastics, horse riding and studying hard at school.

After leaving Birley Community College, Kirsty went on to study child care at Sheffield College and is now at Scarborough University doing Early Childhood Studies and hoping to become a teacher.

Her proud dad Darren said: “Kirsty has achieved so much and we are so proud of her.

“She has never let her condition affect what she has wanted to do. We owe so much to Richard Pearce, senior consultant at the Jessop.”

Kirsty will be joined by her sister Megan, 18 brother Adam, 14, and a dozen other family members to celebrate her birthday with a family meal at the Moss Brook pub in Eckington tonight.