A 12-year-old girl has earned her place on the national Judo squad, despite being born with a hole in her heart.
Amy Bundy’s parents were told to “take her home and enjoy the time they had left with her” after she was diagnosed with a catalogue of life-threatening health problems at just 10-weeks-old.
But after fighting for her life, Amy, from Romford, Essex, is set to compete for the England national team in Judo.
Amy’s proud mum Nicole, 41, had a normal pregnancy and was expecting a healthy baby when she gave birth.
But soon after she was born, little Amy became very poorly and began vomiting.
Ten weeks later, Nicole and Amy’s dad Steve, 43, received devastating news.
Nicole said: “She had a hole in her heart and she was missing the main artery from her heart to her lungs.
“She also had low oxygen levels, as she had a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot disease.
“She also had problems with her arteries from her lungs, they had to be reconstructed.”
At the time, doctor’s told Amy’s parents that her prospects for survival were weak.
Nicole said: “It was devastating.
“They just told us to take her home and enjoy the time we had left with her.”
But little Amy defied all odds and underwent eight hours surgery at just six-months-old, which included reconstructing her arteries, mending the hole and giving her a new artificial valve.
Nicole said: “It was the longest day of my life.
“It was longer than a day of work and it was frightening as we were told she might not make it.
“I just knew we had to give her every possibility to survive that we could.”
After her surgery Amy began to thrive and grow just like any other child her age.
Nicole said: “We have always treated her just like any other child.
“She was quite sporty and like watching the athletics.”
At seven-years-old, Amy told her parents she wanted to try out judo.
While he hadn’t trained for years, Amy’s dad, a black belt, had competed in Judo for 20 years.
But Nicole was apprehensive.
She said: “Obviously we wanted her to be just like other kids, but I was worried about what could happen with her health problems.
“I was concerned someone might hit her chest in a bad way, or something might happen.
“We went to check with consultants that it was OK and they were really encouraging.”
Amy went to her first judo class and it was obvious she had found her passion.
Nicole said: “From day one she was a natural at Judo.
“She came home and she just loved it.
“Her dad was inspired by her and went back to it.
“He now coaches her and other kids at the local club.”
On Saturday Amy faced the biggest fight in her judo career, as she thought in the Pre-Cadet British judo Championships.
Miraculously, Amy secured a bronze medal and a place on England squad for her weight in the 12-14 age category.
Nicole said: “I wasn’t allowed to be there, because she gets nervous when I watch her competing.
“Steve called me and got her to speak to me and I was so proud.
“We weren’t expecting it at all, you never know how things are going to go.
“I am so happy for her and how far she has come.
“Twelve years ago, we didn’t think she’d be alive, let alone on the national judo squad.”
Nicole says she has spoken to Amy about possibly taking Judo further and competing in the Olympic games.
She said: “She is only twelve and being a professional at Judo is very hard.
“We shall see what she wants to do, but we are really proud of her.”