SHEREE and Pat Kearns say they are forever indebted to the Royal Children's Hospital.
The staff there were responsible for ensuring their daughter Calla, now 14 months, beat the odds.
"She wouldn't be here without them," Mrs Kearns said.
At a time when most couples are celebrating the impending birth of their first child, the Kearns were desperately hoping for a miracle.
When Mrs Kearns was 20 weeks pregnant, doctors told her that her baby had a 50/50 chance of survival.
The couple's unborn daughter had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia - a hole in her diaphragm and her organs that were meant to be in her abdominal cavity were actually in her chest cavity.
"It's hard to even think about," she said.
"We're very lucky she survived."
The surgery to repair the hole was a success and the couple couldn't be more grateful to the staff at the Royal Children's Hospital.
Today, the Woolsthorpe couple has a happy healthy daughter who has brought more joy to their lives than they knew was possible.
"Her lungs are a little bit smaller than a normal 14-month-old but otherwise she's a normal baby," Mrs Kearns said.
She is edging closer to taking her first steps, says a number of words including mum and dad, loves cats and The Wiggles. Calla still has regular check ups with her doctor, but so far she has passed with flying colours.
Mrs Kearns said the staff at the Royal Children's Hospital went above and beyond.
She said the hospital needed all the help it could get and encouraged people to dig deep for the Good Friday Appeal.
"The level of care they offer their patients is incredible," Mrs Kearns said. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia affects one in 2500 babies worldwide.
In Victoria, 10 to 15 babies are born with the condition every year and while the condition can be genetic, in most instances the cause is unknown.
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