A five-year-old is running a race to raise money for Bolton Hospital’s NICU -  newborn intensive care - unit after their incredible care.

Lola Monks is now five-years-old but spent the first eight months of her life at Royal Bolton Hospital's NICU unit due to her premature birth.

Her mum, Gemma Monks says it was a tough time for the family seeing Lola in an incubator being tube-fed but the happy five-year-old defied the odds.

Gemma,who lives with her family in Bury, said: “We knew she was going to be early because it was complicated pregnancy but we didn’t realise how ill she was going to be.

The Bolton News: Lola with parents Danny and Gemma MonksLola with parents Danny and Gemma Monks

“But Lola is now thriving and loving life. She’s five so she understands now and will run the race to congratulate the nurses who were with her every day.”

Lola weighed just 2lbs 9oz when she was born.

Her mum said: “She had a very turbulent time when she was born 11 weeks premature and spent a long time on the NICU unit.

“She was eight months old before she finally made it home.

“Those who know us well understand just how sick she was and that its all thanks to the nurses and doctors at both Preston and Bolton that we have her with us today.”

The Bolton News: Lola visiting the team at Royal Bolton HospitalLola visiting the team at Royal Bolton Hospital

Lola understands the care she received was one of the best after her mum told her all about her time in the NICU as a baby.

The five-year-old was enthusiastic to run for the nurses and has so far raised £390.

Gemma said: “Their amazing care and a strong will and determination from Lola herself means she can experience life to the fullest and she’s now old enough to participate in a fundraiser with a basic understanding of why she is doing it.

“Lola doesn't know all the details but she is old enough to understand she was poorly and was in the hospital for a very long time.

"When asked how much she wants to raise, she said £30.

“But I’m sure we can help her get to that, and more.

“We as parents have of course thanked the staff on many occasions over the years and gifted items to the unit too and we remain eternally grateful to them.

“Thank you to everyone who supports us.

“When they told us she might not make it, it was tough especially because we were told most premature babies were out of the NICU by their due date.”

To donate, visit the Go Fund Me page.