Kaidence Tate has battled extreme health complications since she was born with the debilitating spine condition spina bifida in December 2014. Her condition began when a large lesion on her back opened up in the womb exposing the spinal cord.
This left medics no choice but to perform a dangerous eight-hour operation to remove the lesion and reconstruct her back hours after her birth. She has suffered a range of spina bifida-related issues, including kidney failure, paralysis and fluid on the brain.
At just 18 months, she was one of the youngest children in the country to use a wheelchair.
Kaidence, who is paralysed from her chest cavity down, has overcome many health scares in her short life, but 2020 has been a huge challenge.
She has endured seven operations in the last year alone – but has now defied medics’ predictions and returned to school this month.
Mother Paula Tate, 31, describes her as “the strongest girl I know”.
The mother of four, from Belfast, said: “2020 has really chewed up Kaidence and spat her out again. She’s never had an easy time but this year really has been the worst.
“She’s had seven brain surgeries this year and has almost died multiple times.
“Thankfully, doctors have fought to save her life and over lockdown the slow pace of life meant she could actually rest and relax properly.
“I’m so proud of her. The fact she’s managed to go back to school and has never stopped smiling or being her cheeky self, she just amazes me.”
Kaidence has now become an ambassador for her condition. She even turned her hand to modelling and has won prizes for bravery.
Paula added: “We’ve prepared to say goodbye to her multiple times but she just keeps fighting back.”