THE LAST three years have been a rollercoaster of doctors, specialists and therapists.
Shontae Denniss was just a toddler when she was given a life-changing diagnosis in September 2009.
She is living with Rett syndrome, rare debilitating condition which affects her motor and speech skills.
It has been a constant battle for her mother Michelle who said as she gets older, it gets harder.
"This year has been the hardest," she said.
Shontae has begun to have problems with her breathing and spent Christmas day in Hospital after turning blue.
"You get over one hurdle and there is another one to jump," said Michelle.
Unable to speak, Shontae has begun to learn choice cards to communicate.
Michelle will hold up colourful pictures which imply simple notions such as yes or no and Shontae will point at one.
Next month will be her fifth birthday and her family plan to have a big celebration to mark the milestone.
"Every day is a bonus, every birthday is huge."
Michelle is so thankful to the Gladstone community who has rallied together in support over the last three years.
"She changes people somehow," Michelle said.
"It's not easy but she's mine, she is the light of our lives."
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