A NEWPORT family are celebrating three years since their young daughter left hospital -despite only being given a 10 per cent chance of survival.

At two years old Felicity Watkins was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome.

It happens when the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.

The exact cause is unknown, but it left Felicity paralysed and needing critical care at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales in Cardiff.


In all, she spent 258 days in hospital, including more than two months in the intensive care unit and 176 days in the high dependency unit.

It was during this time that parents Frances and Alec Watkins were given the devastating news she had only had a 10 per cent survival rate.

But three years later Felicity, now six, is looking forward to her second year at Jubilee Park Primary School in Rogerstone.

Marking the anniversary, Mrs Watkins reflected on the progress she had made in the past three years.

South Wales Argus:

(Felicity Watkins with her parents Frances and Alec)

"We were told there was nothing they could do and she wouldn't walk again," she said. "She came home only able to move one leg up to the knee and could say three words at a time without needing to stop that was it.

"But she's stubborn. She's in school and trying so hard to walk and stand unaided.

"She does everything with her feet. She paints with her feet, she can play the piano with her feet, and she pushes her wheelchair with her feet.

"She's really excited for her second year of school.

South Wales Argus:

(Felicity Watkins is preparing for her second year at Jubilee Park Primary School in Rogerstone.)

"Her big brother has moved to her school as he wanted to be with her.

"She does suffer from selective mutism, but the school have managed to help her talk more. Hopefully being with her brother too will help that.

"She's amazing. Every day she is smiling. If it wasn't for her and her brother being so strong, I'm not sure I could have got through this.

"No-one knows what the future holds for her - she has defied the odds so much already. We are all so proud of her."