Little Maia Friedlander has just realised she has a twin, thanks to a revolutionary medical procedure that has turned her life around.
The Epsom 5-year-old was born with a form of cerebral palsy which injured her brain and affected her speech, balance and movement.
In August, Maia received a re-infusion of her umbilical cord blood at Duke University, in the United States.
Umbilical cord blood contains special stem cells that can be used to reboot immune systems after cancer treatment, to repair brain injury and Type 1 diabetes.
And her parents have already seen improvements. Daniel Friedlander last night told the Herald Maia was aware - for the first time - that she had a twin sister, Arielle.
"Before, she didn't realise she had a sister. Now we're a normal family who have two children who get into trouble. One goes to bed when she has to and the other one does things a bit differently. She's our little miracle.
"She's a much more outgoing child. She can say daddy, mummy - if she wants an apple she'll say, 'Want apple."'
Mr Friedlander said paediatric oncologist Joanne Kurtzberg oversaw Maia's two-hour treatment.
Dr Kurtzberg has reinfused 50 children with their own cord blood for treatment of cerebral palsy and brain injury since 2003.
"Just a few days after the procedure her eyes started to look more alert, she lost the unfocused, dreamy kind of look. Her arms and legs began to straighten out, and her physical co-ordination improved.
"Since Maia's return home [to Auckland] she's continued to make progress and is now attending pre-school five days a week."
Maia's treatment is not yet available in New Zealand and her family paid for travel to the United States and the procedure.
Cord Bank is the only New Zealand organisation in which parents can store their child's cord blood. The privately owned company, licensed by MedSafe, charges an initial $2500 fee, and $200 a year for storage.
Mr Friedlander encouraged other parents to bank their children's cord blood as insurance.