Photo: Ellie Beale, pictured, with dad Simon last year as she recovered from a life-saving heart transplant
But incredibly, this time last year the brave toddler was fighting for her life at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, during a five month ordeal strapped to an artificial heart and waiting for a life-saving transplant.
Speaking to The Chronicle on Tuesday at her Goring home after dropping Ellie at school for the first time, proud mum Debbie Bolton said: 2It was really brilliant, she has gone through an awful lot and was so excited. She talks a lot about making new friends and sharing toys and she will actually get a chance to do that now."
Ellie, who has a weaker immune system than most children, had her start at Wallingford's Mongewell Park Nursery postponed three times by an outbreak of chicken pox among her future classmates.
Her incredible tale of survival began 18 months ago, when she was taken by her worried parents to their GP and referred to the Royal Berkshire Hospital with a possible chest infection. Doctors quickly diagnosed dilated cardiomyopathy - a condition which causes weakening of the heart and is thought to have been caused by a virus - and rushed to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.