SHE was a miracle baby, saved at just nine months old by the kindness of strangers who, in their time of grief, agreed to give the gift of life.

Now, 25 years since she received a life-saving liver transplant, Hannah MacKereth, from Bishopbriggs, has marked the poignant anniversary by setting her sights on helping others by studying medicine at Glasgow University. She was close to death from biliary atresia, a rare disorder that affects just one child in 16,000 and leads to a build-up of bile that can destroy the liver.

With hopes fading of finding a liver small enough to be transplanted into a baby, medics opted to give her a segment of a teenage donor’s liver.

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The surgery, performed at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in 1993, was one of the first of its kind to be attempted in Britain on a baby.

Remarkably, Hannah quickly recovered. And although she has to take anti-rejection medicine every day there has never been any problem with her transplanted liver. She marked the 25th anniversary of her transplant with a family party.

She said: “I am very lucky. I have had no complications from my transplant. It’s been a part of me all my life and most of the time I forget it ever happened.

“But it’s definitely 100 per cent because of the transplant that I wanted to work in medicine,” added Hannah, who is preparing to sit her final exams at Glasgow in a few months.

“Even when I was a little girl I told everyone I wanted to be a transplant surgeon. Now I’m not sure what I want to specialise in, but I would like to spend some time working with transplant patients.”

Like many babies, Hannah was jaundiced when she was born. When her colour hadn’t improved after five weeks, doctors made further checks and found she was suffering from biliary atresia, a condition that can form in the womb.

An operation to solve the problem failed, leaving her parents Jackie and Paul facing the choice of letting her die or placing her on the transplant waiting list.

As her condition deteriorated doctors at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital stepped in to offer her a new kind of transplant, using a small section cut from an adult liver.

The surgery had been carried out for the first time just four years earlier and had never been attempted on such a young baby.

In a 10-hour operation, Hannah was eventually given a section of liver from a 15-year-old boy who had died in an accident.

Within hours of leaving the operating theatre, colour had returned to her face and she was allowed home just four weeks later.

“I have actually been in hospital more often in the past couple of years during my studies than I’ve been in with my liver,” said Hannah, 25, who graduated with a degree in physiology before embarking on her medical degree at Glasgow University.

“Obviously, getting to this stage is a very happy occasion for me and my family, but we are always conscious that for another family it is 25 years since they lost someone they love. I’ll always be so grateful to them and my donor.”