A schoolgirl has won this year’s Child of Sussex Gold Award for her bravery.
Paige Jeffery, aged nine, was diagnosed with a rare condition and has been in and out of hospital throughout her life.
Her dad also died suddenly last year, aged only 31.
Paige’s mum, Hollie, said: “She was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease at a young age and has had multiple surgeries and medical problems.
“Paige also missed a lot of school and was unable to do anything a normal child could do. Now she has had a pioneering procedure to put in a MIC-KEY button or ACE and it’s been life-changing.”
Hirschsprung’s disease is a condition that affects the large intestine (colon) and causes problems with passing stool.
Hollie said: “Paige was one of the first people to undergo the procedure instead of having to have a colostomy bag. It took a very long time for Paige to be diagnosed with the condition. She had to have a biopsy in order for doctors to diagnose it.”
Doctors are also investigating whether Paige, who attends Little Common School, has a hereditary heart condition called Brugada syndrome.
The rare but serious condition affects the way electrical signals pass through the heart.
It can be treated by having an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) fitted.
Hollie said Paige’s dad died in his sleep on Father’s Day last year of sudden adult death syndrome.
Despite all of the adversity Paige has had to endure, her mum said her daughter has faced it head-on with maturity.
Hollie said: “She is the happiest, most upbeat child you could ever meet and always helpful to others.
“Despite everything she has been through she has never given up. Her winning this award has just reiterated the fact that we are incredibly proud of her strength and bravery.”
Paige collected her award, sponsored by the Rocking Horse Children’s Charity, on Friday (October 20) at the Child of Sussex Awards ceremony at the Brighton Metropole Hotel.