A BRAVE toddler born with a life-threatening condition has defeated the odds to celebrate her first birthday.

Elisabeth Down from Mold was born four months premature and given only a ten per cent chance of survival.

When twin sister Mara died after complications, Elisabeth developed the brain disorder hydrocephalus and spent four months in intensive care.

But yesterday, she celebrated her first birthday and proud parents Colin, 38, and Sabine, 33, said she was improving in leaps and bounds.

Colin said: “She’s doing fantastically.

“It is thought the more premature you are the more you lag behind in your development but she has astonished all of the doctors. She is about eight months developed.”

Elisabeth, who attends the Little Peoples Day Nursery in Mynydd Isa, developed the brain condition as she was on the brink of going home from hospital.

Colin, who runs a mountain biking website, said: “We kind of expected it because doctors said if she survived there would be a 90 per cent chance she would have a disability.

“It is basically water on the brain. She had last minute surgery. She had a shunt inserted under her skin and into her brain in order to drain the fluid.

“That is keeping it under control now but she may have to wear the shunt for up to 15 years."

Elisabeth celebrated her birthday with a trip to the swimming baths and a party at home surrounded by family.

Now Colin and three friends will embark on a gruelling bike ride to raise money for the charities which helped his daughter.

He said: “It’s a 180-mile mountain bike ride from Aberystwyth to Prestatyn.

“It’ll take us around three days and is a 29,754 ft ascent which is the equivalent of Everest.

“We’re aiming to raise around £4,000.”

Funds raised will go to Wrexham Maelor Special Care Baby Unit, Cherish Wrecsam, Alder Hey Imagine Appeal and Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool.

Colin added: “Sabine and I were completely overwhelmed by the support we were given by everyone through this critical time.

“We cannot thank the medical staff enough for the caring and understanding way we were treated, it made the stress so much easier to

To sponsor Colin go to www.flattyresmtbroutes.com.