DANIEL Hilton was born prematurely after 28 weeks and just 11 years later has gained his black belt in karate.
Weighing just 1lb 13oz tiny Daniel, of Nant Hall Road, Prestatyn, was put on a ventilator at Glan Clwyd Hospital’s special care baby unit for 26 days.
His mother Anita had suffered from pre-eclampsia and Daniel was deliverd in the amniotic sac on January 22 by emergency caesarean. He was struck down with a host of infections, chronic lung disorder, MRSA and underwent a number of blood transfusions.
Dad Nick, 57, said: “If it wasn’t for the brilliant care from SCBU, all the doctors and nursing staff, he wouldn’t have been here to have two very proud parents and grandparents. They told us they didn’t think he would survive.
“He was almost see through when he was born, you could see his heart beat in his chest.
“His legs were as big as my little finger. I don’t know how he survived.
“He came home on oxygen, with a lot of medication and remained on it all, including oxygen until Christmas.
“Daniel had slow physical development, he couldn’t even ride a bike.”
Daniel started attending Bodnant Infants School and, at six, won a free training session at John Lynn’s Black Belt Academy at a school fair.
Nick, who works in car sales at Threeways Garage in Abergele, said: “He instantly enjoyed his training at the Rhyl dojo and developed a talent.
“Karate helped strengthen him physically and his mind, socially, and for school work. His stamina has built up, he has worked so hard and he is pleased with his achievement.”
Daniel who is set to start at Prestatyn High School in September, has taken 15 gradings and passed his first dan black belt. He can now cycle at least eight miles and can swim 400 metres. His ambition is to progress even further with his karate and hopes one day to be an instructor at the academy.
“John Lynn’s Karate Academy has given him the confidence to do other things, including concerts with the school at Rhyl Pavilion.”
He added: “Daniel is determined to go on and get his seventh and eighth dan.”