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Edgware teen Taylor Chambers celebrates 18th birthday
Becoming an adult is something most spend their childhood dreaming about - but for Taylor Chambers, his 18th birthday is all the more special.
The strapping teenager got off to a rocky start when he was born weighing just 2lb 3oz - but today he celebrates a milestone his family feared would never come.
Taylor, of Bromfield, Edgware, was born three months premature at Edgware General Hospital on September 19, 1995.
His mother had pre-eclampsia - a complication involving high blood pressure in pregnancy - and it was “touch and go” as little Taylor’s weight plummeted to just 1lb 1oz.
Doctors tried to prepare his father, Gary, and grandparents, Eileen and Patrick Chambers, for the worst.
His lungs were severely underdeveloped so he spent the next two months in hospital until he was finally deemed strong enough to go home, one month before his due date.
Grandmother Mrs Chambers said: “When I saw him for the first time in the incubator I was in total disbelief.
“He was just skin and bones. It was distressing. The doctors weren’t sure if he was going to pull through - there was a 50/50 chance.
“We came so close to losing him - but now he’s celebrating his 18th birthday and we are so proud of him.”
Just weeks after the fragile baby was released from the hospital’s Starlight Ward, which has since shut, he had to be readmitted with pneumonia.
For the first year of his life Taylor needed an oxygen tank, and it was not until he turned three his family realised he would grow into a happy, healthy child.
Grandfather Mr Chambers said: “We were very nervous when he came out of hospital. The nurses and doctors were simply fantastic though.
“We want to tell his story to give hope to other families like ours. To see Taylor turn 18 is such a defining moment.”
Despite his uncertain start, the keen footballer’s family say he has a bright future ahead of him.
Taylor, who lives with his grandparents, studies music technology at West Herts College, Watford, and hopes to become a sound engineer.
He will be celebrating his birthday with friends and family at Hatfield House.
He said: “I obviously don’t remember what happened, but there’s a bit of a buzz in my family about me turning 18 because of everything I went through.
“I suppose I’m proof that there can be happy endings.”
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