AN inspiring little girl who continues to defy the odds despite her family being told she could only have weeks left to live is spreading joy with her love of sponge.

Erin Sadler, 8 from Colchester, battles a number of serious and life-threatening conditions on a daily basis, including blood, kidney, live and heart disease.

The brave sepsis, haemorrhage and heart attack survivor, who went into cardiac arrest in her mother’s arms, has also had to endure 118 blood transfusions.

The defiant nature of Erin, however, who has been diagnosed with PTSD and autism and takes 29 different medications every day, often sees her exceed expectations.


But in December, her family were given devastating news by doctors, who feared the worst after her kidney’s functioning capacity plummeted to just five per cent.

Mum Helen, 43, of Ipswich Road, said: “We had a big run of deterioration before Christmas and I was actually told we could only have weeks left with Erin.

“But although she didn’t improve, she stabilised, so we went from thinking we were in trouble to now approaching May – but we are on a knife’s edge.

“Erin is a cracking little girl and she is incredible and although she has very complicated health she makes the best of everything.

“The other day she wanted to dance to Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles, so she got out of her wheelchair and danced for 43 seconds.

“Her legs are like toothpicks so she was spent, but she wanted to do it and so she got up and she did it.”

Erin, who has to be constantly monitored, is now putting smiles on the faces of all those who follow her journey with her penchant for cutting up sponge.

Her fascination with the squidgy material started roughly four years ago when mum Helen would buy her something on the way to the hospital to keep her occupied.


On one occasion she picked out a pack of sponge animals, expressing a desire to meticulously cut them up – something she now finds calming and therapeutic.

As a result, Erin is regularly seen surrounded by piles of sponge cut-offs which are now going to new homes after Helen received hundreds of messages after an appeal.

“They have gone to painters, primary schools, the hospice EACH, a lady who face paints and to pack out dog beds,” added Helen, who daughter also has vasculitis and sever hypertension.

“It is nice people are finding a use for them and so far we have given about ten large sacks of sponge out to people after getting hundreds of replies.

“Erin finds comfort in cutting the sponges and she does a quality check by sniffing every edge – it is a compulsion but she finds it calming.

“She literally cuts them until her fingers blister but she just loves the sponges and is loving the fact they are going to people who need them.”