A generous donation for the League of Friends at Royal Cornwall Hospital was given by the Walters family from Perranporth, who are planning an extra special Christmas this year, as they spent last year watching their youngest daughter and sister fight for her life.

Caja Walters, 18, was admitted to RCHT on December 8 last year and, after being diagnosed with appendicitis, swiftly underwent an operation to remove her appendix, but complications arose.

"I was so scared, I thought I was going to die. I have never felt so much pain in all my life" said Caja. "I remember looking at my mum and saying 'please don’t let me die.'"

Caja was put into an induced coma after doctors found most of her stomach contents had been ingested by her lungs, leaving her with a seven per cent breathing capacity, and she was also suffering from peritonitis.

Her father, Juan Walters said at one point the family were not sure if Caja would survive.

He said: "We knew she was in the best place but it was so difficult, as she was our daughter and all we could do was stand back and pray."

Remarkably, Caja woke up six days later and after a short stay at hospital, was discharged on her sister Holly’s 21st birthday.

Kirsty, Caja’s other sister, said: "We kept saying it was our miracle, even the doctors said they didn’t know how she pulled through."

Even though it took Caja several months to recover, the determined teenager has used her shock illness as inspiration to live life to the full. 

She said: "I remember thinking I had been given a second chance for a reason and I knew I had to change my life."

Since her operation, she has learnt to drive and returned to Truro College to undertake a medical secretary course, and is considering doing volunteer work within the hospital.

She said: "Some people aren’t lucky enough to have family like mine to support them through their illness, so I would like to be able to support those who aren’t as fortunate as me."

Caja’s mum, Clare said: "The staff in the intensive care ward were amazing, they were so calm and professional and really supported us during this difficult time."

Her family have also become avid charity supporters and over the past year have raised more than £500 for The League of Friends at Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Beatrice Dyer, chairman of the Friends, said: "We are always very grateful to receive any on donations as it helps us continue the important  work so that we can purchase extra equipment to support patients to receive care."