A ‘miracle baby’ will mark her 21st birthday by climbing nearly 6,000 metres up one of the world’s most iconic peaks.
No mean feat in itself – but the ascent takes on a remarkable significance given that she underwent life-saving open- heart surgery at just two days old.
Emily Wright and her dad Paul will climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa – in October.
The eight-day, 5,895 metre trek will raise money for Alder Hey’ Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where Emily, a tiny baby, had her heart surgery.
Parents Paul and Sally were devastated to be told she needed vital surgery because of a rare condition when she was born in March 1997.
She was moved from Sharoe Green Hospital, Preston, to Alder Hey.
The operation was to reverse arteries in her heart which had grown in the wrong direction and were not allowing oxygen to get to her lungs.
Her parents were so relieved it was a success that they decided to raise money for the hospital.
Emily lives with her 49-year-old father, mother Sally, 48, and brother Jacob, 18, on Langdale Road, Leyland.
Her parents, who lived in Blackthorn Croft, Clayton-le-Woods, run freight forwarding business InXpress in Leyland.
She attended Lever House Primary School and Balshaws High before heading off to dance school.
She said of the mountain challenge: “I’m really, really looking forward to it.
“When I was young my mum and dad told me I was poorly when I was a baby. It was when I was 12 I realised what it was.
“When I was older I realised how serious it was, an operation to save my life.
“I think my heart is just as healthy as anyone else’s now.”
As regards the hospital she said: “I feel no amount of money is ever going to pay them back - what they did is priceless.
“I want with my dad to raise £12,000 to £15,000, you have to raise a minimum of £9,000.”
Emily, who is based as a personal trainer at Gymetc, King Street, Leyland, said she likes to see her friends, be really sociable and go shopping ... “doing what any other 20-year-old girl would like, really.”
A fund-raising race night will be held at Leyland Cricket Club on March 23.
For details of Emily’s justgiving page and other fundraisers, visit her Facebook page Em Wright.
Paul said: “I’m a keen walker but I’ve never climbed a mountain, I’ve done Snowdon and Scafell.
“It’s organised by Alder Hey, there’s about 20 going.”
As regards Emily’s surgery, he said: “It was a one-off fix. If she came through that everything was fine. She literally had the one operation.
“There was certainly some risk – we had her christened when she was three hours old.
“They told us if they closed her chest back up after the operation, that was a good sign.
“She has check-ups every now and again.
“She’s just a normal pesky daughter.”
He said Emily was a good dancer and swimmer.
“Also when she was young she did everything a normal girl would do,” he said.
“I’m very proud of her. She does remarkably well. It doesn’t hold her back. She’s not too hung up on things. She’s a lovely girl.”