A boy born with just 2% of his brain, which led doctors to believe he would live in a vegetative state, has made a remarkable recovery to celebrate his ninth birthday.
Noah Wall, from Carlisle, Cumbria, developed a rare brain condition in the womb and his parents Michelle, 49, and Rob, 55, were told by doctors he would likely never talk, walk, or eat on his own.
Instead, however, Noah has seen his brain grow from 2% up to 80%.
He has been able to surf and ski, and now dreams of one day becoming an astronaut.
Noah was diagnosed with spina bifida, which is when a baby's spine does not develop properly, early in his mum's pregnancy with doctors revealing he would be paralysed from the chest down.
Early scans also showed he would likely be missing a quarter of his brain at birth due to a porencephalic cyst in his head, which was destroying his brain.
Noah also had a rare condition called hydrocephalus, which is a life-threatening condition that leads to an accumulation of fluid within the brain.
A baby with Edwards' syndrome has three copies of chromosome number 18 instead of two. Just 13 in 100 babies born alive with Edwards’ syndrome live past one.
Patau’s syndrome is a serious rare genetic disorder caused by having an additional copy of chromosome 13. Only one in 10 children with the disorder survive past a year.
A ‘do not resuscitate order’ was placed on Noah and his parents were asked five times if they wanted to terminate the pregnancy.
Watch: Girl with hydrocephalus undergoes surgery to rebuild her skull
Noah's mum Michelle recalls how difficult her pregnancy was, as she didn’t know whether her baby would survive until the moment he was born.
The distraught parents had gone through the heartbreaking process of choosing a coffin and were arranging a funeral before Noah was born.
“As a parent you don’t want to believe what they’re saying, but it’s reality," Michelle explains. "But you’ve got to go home and tell your family that we might have to bury him.
“We always tried to be positive, always, even though we were given such a horrendous situation.”
But against all odds Noah was born on 6 March, 2012 weighing 9lb 7oz and was able to breathe on his own.
His mum cried when he took his first breath, as this indicated he had a chance of surviving.
“Noah took one life affirming scream when he was born and tears just rolled down my cheeks," Michelle explains. "It was incredible. It was emotional.”
Shortly after his birth, an MRI scan revealed Noah was actually born with just 2% of his physical brain.
After seven weeks, he had a shunt put into his head and a soft tube to drain the liquid down his neck and into his abdomen. He will likely require tests and surgeries throughout his life.
Michelle, who works as a full-time carer, said: “Doctors told us that he would be in a vegetative state, he wouldn’t be able to communicate.
“They told us he might not be able to speak, hear, eat, or anything.
“But he can tell the time, he reads, he does maths, he loves science. He can talk about the solar system. He has incredible dreams and even more incredible knowledge.”
Earlier this month Noah celebrated his ninth birthday.
“I love having people around on my birthday, this birthday was different but it was still special," Noah says of the special day.
Michelle said Noah’s birthday celebrations are emotional for the family every year as it reminds them of how far they’ve come and how "extraordinary" Noah’s progress has been.
Noah, who uses a wheelchair, has revealed he hopes to be able to play football one day.
“When I went to Newcastle stadium I was on the grass and I was amazed, one day I am going to run and score a goal,” he says.
He has also outlined his hope of one day falling in love and having his own children.
Although Noah has already had 11 surgeries and faces a lifetime of operations, the family says they are still determined and hopeful he will get to fulfil his dreams.
“It’s been an absolute joy to see him grow up and see him become the unique boy that he is," Michelle explains.
“It’s astonishing to me how smart he is. We’ve spent a lot of time with him and every single day he does something that impresses me.
“I’m so extremely proud of him. He’s my son. His goal in life is to run, it’s what he wants to do. I will help him all I can and always be there for him.”
Noah is a proud patron of Variety, a charity which works with disabled, sick and disadvantaged children, as well as The Music Man Project, which puts disabled children on the UK’s biggest stages.
You can follow Noah's charity work on Instagram.
Additional reporting SWNS.