When Lisa Buck reads reports and studies claiming premature babies are less likely to be intelligent, she has to hold herself back from giving a snort of disbelief.
Lisa knows her daughter Shannon is living proof that this is not always the case as Shannon almost died after being born 13 weeks early but has blossomed into an astute and determined teenager who is celebrating her A-levels success and preparing to head to university.
Lisa, 48, who lives in Croston, near Preston and also has children Jordan, 27, Lauren, 24, Megan, 20 and Euan, 16, says: “Looking at Shannon now, it is difficult to believe she was once so tiny and poorly.
“She is the tallest out of all my girls at 5ft 7ins and she has size seven or eight feet!”
Shannon was born 13 weeks premature at Preston’s former Sharoe Green Hospital on April 4 2000 weighing 2lb 2oz and was given a slim chance of survival.
Shannon’s weight dropped to 1lb and half an ounce and doctors fears she would either die or be left with disabilities.
Her parents were actually summoned to the hospital after her lung collapsed and warned that she was unlikely to make it.
However, Shannon not only survived against all odds, she is a healthy, fit and intelligent young woman who lives life to the full.
Shannon, who was a pupil at Bishop Rawstorne High School before going to Runshaw College in Leyland, has achieved A-levels English Literature grade A, Psychology B and History B and will be moving to Oxford later this month to study publishing media at Oxford Brookes University.
Lisa says: “Shannon has always excelled at reading and writing and is obsessed with books. She always knew she wanted to do something in this field and is excited about going to university to study publishing.
“We are so proud of Shannon. When she had such a shaky start in life, we certainly didn’t think she would do as well as she has done.
“Shannon has certainly not let anything hold her back and she just loves life.
“When Shannon was born, we were warned that she would probably not make it.
“We got a call telling us to get to the hospital quickly after her lung collapsed.
“It took Shannon a long time to get off the ventilator and she had to have a number of blood transfusions as a baby.
“She ended up being in hospital for 13 weeks and was allowed to go home on the day she should have been born.
“I want to reassure any parents who have a baby born prematurely that things can get better despite the prognosis and in Shannon’s case, being born premature has not had any lasting effects on her life.
“Shannon just takes everything in her stride and is very independent. I think that has a lot to do with being premature.
“Premature babies have a lot of determination and grit and are very feisty.
“Shannon knows how lucky she is for her prematurity not to have held her back and everyone is so proud of her.”
Shannon says: “I know a lot of premature babies don’t make it, so I feel very lucky to be here and I would like to thank the hospital staff who cared for me.
“I’m very excited to start the next chapter of my life later this month.”