MYA HARRIS was diagnosed with spina bifida while still in the womb and has required continuous care from the children's hospital over the past 10 years.

The Cowley girl featured in the Oxford Mail's original campaign, part of a £15m fundraising drive towards building the hospital in 2004, at the age of one.

Now 14, her parents Dale Harris and Leah Goodson said they were 'forever indebted' to the hospital as Mya looks forward to adulthood.

Spina bifida means 'split spine', which can lead to mobility problems and paralysis, and Mya has had up to three operations each year throughout her life.

Her dad Dale Harris said: "We are forever indebted to the hospital and the staff for what they have done for Mya.

"It's been the most important thing for us really - as parents we have always been very positive towards her and the staff have been positive too and very proactive in her care.

"It becomes easier as they get older but Mya has never been fearful of going to hospital or having any operations and we have the nurses and all the staff to thank for that."

The teenager was initially looked after at a combination of the Radcliffe Infirmary, the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and the main John Radcliffe Hospital.

But since the age of four all of her care has been on the same site.

Mr Harris, who works at city centre sports shop Elmer Cotton, said: "When she was a baby the care was still good but having it all under one roof made it much better.

"The hospital itself has grown ever since in terms of what it offers and in keeping the kids entertained and focussed."

The 14-year-old is now at Cheney School and her dad the care and support during her childhood has moulded her into an independent girl who throws herself at everything.

He said: "Mya's a bit more wheelchair-bound than she was a few years ago but she does everything in life to the best of her ability.

"She goes through life with a very hands-on approach, she loves swimming and has been using the gym and Brookes once a week and is very independent as she gets ready to move into adulthood

"She couldn't have done any of that without the hospital."

Dedicated fundraiser Dale has taken part in the OX5 Run at Blenheim Palace 10 times and also abseiled down the side of the John Radcliffe on five occasions to raise money for the children's hospital.

He has also been involved with Play 2 Give - an organisation which has donated more than £40,000 to the hospital.

He said: "We have always been grateful and the support we had inspired me to help fundraise and I would encourage people to join forces and raise for this campaign."