XANTHE Lees has had a tough life with many hurdles to jump.
Born with gastroschisis, a type of rupture in the abdominal wall, the 15 year-old from Uki spent her first four months in hospital.
She has had to fight for her life since birth, then faced the ultimately traumatic ordeal of a leg amputation at the tender age of seven.
But the gentle, yet stoic school student is far from bitter about her plight.
Instead, she has taken on the world with gusto and embraced music as her mainstay in life.
"Kids can be cruel," she said.
"But I laugh off the comments about my leg.
"People will always say negative stuff.
"But my advice to any kid like me is to go for what you want.
"Don't let anything hold you back."
You'd never guess she wore prosthesis on her right leg as she darts around the grounds of Murwillumbah High School and bounces on her trampoline.
Xanthe has written around 15 songs and has the "voice of a nightingale," according to those who have heard her repertoire.
"She may have had a rocky start to life," said her mother Kalea.
"But she is passionate about life and has won every challenge thrown at her.
"She is self-motivated.
"Xanthe started singing at three-years-old and hasn't stopped.
"She is a wonderful and wilful human being that lets nothing faze her.
"I'm blessed to have her as a daughter."
Xanthe plans a future in music and wants to record her songs.
"I'd like to study music at university one day," she said.
"I want to know how to record my songs.
"My heart is pretty much set on a musical career.
"Music is such a beautiful way to view life.
"I'm so glad I have it in my life."
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