HE NEVER dreamed of living the independent life most other youngsters are fortunate enough to live.

But after spending 11 years with a tracheostomy tube, Owen Morris has made a “miracle” recovery and is making his first steps towards a “normal” life.

In 2006, the Daily Echo told the story of Owen’s brave fight to make it home for Christmas after spending his first 11 months inside the paediatric intensive care ward at Southampton General Hospital.

Now, after having a life-changing operation, he is readying himself for his first term at Oasis Academy.

Owen was born with a heart defect and breathing problems which meant that he needed around the clock care from medical staff.

But now the tube he has had for his entire life has been removed, and Owen is looking forward to the future with excitement.

Owen said: “When the doctors told me I could get rid of the tube I just ran across the corridor shouting ‘I’m free’.

“I was a bit scared at first of taking it out but I’m getting used to how it feels now.

“I can’t wait to get to school.”

Owen was diagnosed with a heart defect when mum Rachael was 20 weeks pregnant with him.

His arteries were the wrong way round and doctors knew that he would need surgery as soon as he was born.

He spent his first year in intensive care.

Rachael is delighted that Owen will now be able to lead a life like other children.

“I’m anxious and cautious.

“It’s a miracle,” she said.

Rachael added: “But it’s more excitement than anything.

“For 11 years we have always had medical staff in the house, coming in and out and on holidays with us to look after Owen.

“It’s been a rollercoaster.

“But now he is on his own he can do normal things without worrying about activities like going to a friend’s house for a sleepover, or going down a flume at the swimming pool.

“It’s amazing.

“We’re so thankful to the medical staff who carried out the procedure.”