The first day at school is a milestone for any child, but for one “walking, talking miracle” it marks a day her parents feared they would never see.
Four-year-old Isha Khan, is starting at Park Hill Infants School, despite being born with the rare and debilitating liver disease bilary atresia, which can prove fatal if untreated.
She has spent much of her short life in hospital undergoing tests and surgery and at two years old had a crucial liver transplant at Kings College Hospital.
Her last surgery was last October and her parents cannot believe 12 months on Isha will be playing at school with all her new friends.
Her mother Iram Khan, 39, said: “I used to hope she would go to school but did not think about it as it was always in the distant future.
“I just thought about her getting better.
“Just buying the uniform and getting her in it has been very exciting and emotional.
“We are so thankful to her donor and to God and all the surgeons and medical staff that have helped her.
“She’s a walking, talking miracle and it gives hope to people in her position as she has given surgeons experience and knowledge.”
Her father Shiraz, 40, added: “Isha has come out of her shell over the last year.
“She was once a quiet, scared and reserved little girl and is now so happy, confident and vibrant in her personality.
“She will speak to anyone and just suddenly burst into a song or a dance – a completely different little girl from before the transplant.”
The school in Stanhope Road, Croydon, near the family’s home, has been given an information pack by the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) to help the staff better understand Isha’s condition.
And the staff will be ready to help Isha take the medicine she has to have so her body does not reject the donated liver.
Rather than hiding behind her mother’s skirts on the first day, Isha is raring to start school alongside her eight-year-old brother Mikail.
Mrs Khan said: “She was always saying, ‘That’s my school’ when we were dropping her brother off.
“And she would ask, ‘When am I going to go to school?’”
“She’s over the moon and she cannot wait to go and play and make friends.”
CLDF chief executive Alison Taylor said: “Many people do not realise that liver disease affects babies but two children each day are diagnosed in the UK and there is still no cure.
“CLDF is dedicated to fighting all forms of childhood liver disease and we are delighted to have been able to help Isha’s family prepare her and the school for this milestone.
“It’s wonderful to see her going off to school with her peers and we shall continue to be there for her and her family in the coming years.”