Born months prematurely, weighing just over two pounds, Sophia Boyd had a huge fight ahead of her.

With her tiny lungs still not properly formed, she was rushed into intensive care and needed several blood transfusions.

Sophia spent the next 14 weeks in hospital, reliant on oxygen while her lungs developed.

Now six months old, she has amazed everyone with her progress - not least her parents, Mark and Dominique.

Back home in Dalston, she is finally breathing for herself and only needs oxygen at night.

Her battle has inspired a family fundraising initiative for the Sick Children's Trust, which supported Mark and Dominique while Sophia was in hospital in Newcastle.

Having already held a successful charity night, 37-year-old Mark is now in training to take on the Great North Run - with the hope of raising £4,000 for such a special cause.

Wife Dominique explained how a routine pregnancy suddenly left her and their baby at risk.

"I had a bleed, a haematoma," she said. "I was at work and my waters broke at 25 weeks. I went into the Cumberland Infirmary and they send me across to Newcastle.

"They let me out at 26 weeks and five days, but the next morning I went into labour.

"I was taken back to Newcastle in an ambulance."

Mark followed in the car, and Sophia was born soon after they arrived.

"As soon as I had her she was whipped away and I was taken into theatre," said Dominique.

"I lost lots of blood and needed transfusions. Sophia was taken into intensive care and also needed transfusions. Apart from that it was mainly her lungs. I'd been having injections to help but they were still underdeveloped, so she needed help to breathe."

Sophia faced a long stay in hospital. But thanks to Crawford House, accommodation for families provided by the Sick Children's Trust, they were able to stay in Newcastle throughout.

Mark said it made all the difference knowing they were just a minute away from her bedside, at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, and could be there for their tiny baby daughter.

"It was a tough time. We didn't know if she was going to pull through. It was so early and she was tiny - all sorts of things go through your head.

"You do see parents getting bad news and that's hard. We know we've been lucky. Sophia won't remember any of it but she's been such a little fighter."

Sophia will be seven months old in September but really should only be four.

Mark said: "She's doing great. We had some good news last week when they said she could be off the oxygen all day. Now she only sleeps with it on.

"She's coming on so well. She is just perfect to us."

He and Dominique are thankful to everyone for helping them through, and the Sick Children's Trust for providing vital accommodation and moral support.

"We've had a lot of support from family and friends and really appreciate that. We've told them but I want to say that publicly. They've been brilliant," said Mark.

"Crawford House also made a difference. It's such a great place.

“We were introduced to The Sick Children’s Trust almost straight away and it took such a huge weight off our minds. Knowing that we didn’t have to worry about travelling back and forth from Carlisle every day to be with our poorly daughter was a huge relief.

"Crawford House wasn’t just a roof over our heads, it became a home from home.

"There was a big, modern kitchen filled with all the cooking essentials and there were huge fridges so we could buy our own food to make our meals throughout the day. With Crawford House only being a couple of minutes’ walk away from Sophia’s bedside, it meant we could walk back for a bite to eat without worrying about leaving her alone.”

Once discharged from the RVI, Sophia spent a further four weeks at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary before being allowed home.

Six months on and they now want to give something back to the charity that helped them and help keep Crawford House running for other families in need.

They have already raised more than £2,500 through the charity night and now want to boost the total, in the hope they can hand over about £4,000 at the end.

In a few weeks time Mark will tackle the Great North Run half marathon. He knows it won't be easy, but he is determined to complete the course for his daughter.

“I’ve done one race in the past which I really struggled with, but I’m sticking to my training this year so that I can get round the course and raise as much money as possible," he said.

Crawford House is one of ten homes run by the Sick Children’s Trust.

The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations to support around 4,000 families every year.

Crawford House manager, Andrew Leadbitter, said: “Raising as much as they have so far is incredible and Mark, along with his family and friends, will ensure that many more families will have a comfortable place to stay just minutes from their child’s bedside.

"We wish Mark the very best of luck.”

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