WHEN Dylan Slaughter was born 17 weeks early, doctors did not expect him to live more than a few hours.
But he defied the odds - and his doctors - to reach milestones his family did not dare imagine.
Despite a catalogue of health problems, Dylan is set to celebrate his 16th birthday this weekend and is studying for his GCSEs,
Dylan, of Fitzwilliam, weighed just 1lb and was severely underdeveloped. He had no ears and his distraught mother, Julie could see her son’s heart beating through his chest because his skin was so delicate.
He was placed straight into the intensive care unit at St James’ Hospital in Leeds but doctors said he would not live more than three hours.
Miss Slaughter, 41, of Newstead Terrace, could not even hold her baby because his paper-thin skin just tore away.
She said: “It was horrendous. I was so scared, I just didn’t know what to do. I was just living in fear of him not making it.”
But Dylan was a fighter.
He endured 27 blood transfusions, two sets of laser eye surgery, and a double hernia operation. The baby could not even urinate by himself and had to helped by his mum.
He now faces a range of health complications, including autism, attention deficit disorder, developmental coordination disorder, delayed motor skills and is deaf but is helped with hearing aids.
But his fighting spirit - that his mum is so proud of - has defied the odds and he will celebrate his 16th birthday on Sunday with a party.
Now the inspirational youngster is working towards his dream of working as a computer game designer.
He is studying at Featherstone Technology College and will take five GCSEs next summer.
Miss Slaughter said: “I just couldn’t believe it when the school told me he would be sitting his exams.
“I just never thought this would happen. Despite everything he has been through he just gets on with things.
“He is an absolute whiz on a computer. He is really bright and totally amazes me, he is my inspiration, a real hero.
“I am just so proud of him and what he has come through.”