For most children, a grazed knee – and the tears that follow – are a normal part of childhood.
But Alice Rambridge has never had such an experience – because she is unable to feel pain.
The nine-year-old suffers from a rare condition which means the two sides of her brain are not connected as they should be.
Called agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), the disorder means even when Alice touches a hot stove that burns her, she will not react .
The schoolgirl’s condition – which has given her an extremely high pain threshold – is so rare only around 50 cases have been recorded worldwide.
It also means she is unable to describe pain – and has never cried – despite battling bugs, colds, chicken pox, tonsillitis.
Her mother Lindsay, 37, said: ‘Like all children do, Alice will fall down and graze herself – but she doesn’t react to it.
‘She has never once cried – and I began to wonder if she had any tear ducts.
‘When she gets ill and is admitted to hospital, I can see she is confused because she can’t feel anything is wrong.’
‘She once put her finger on the hot stove – but carried on playing as though nothing had happened, while I rushed around trying to get water for the burn.
‘Another time her forehead was green with bruises – but she wasn’t phased at all.
The condition occurs when the nerve fibres that make up the corpus callosum do not form – meaning signals cannot be passed back and forth between the hemispheres of the brain.
The rare genetic chromosome disorder also causes underdevelopment in parts of the brain, so Alice struggles to understand social cues.
Ms Rambridge, from Preston, Lancashire, added: ‘I always have to make sure Alice is in a safe space so she can’t hurt herself – and don’t take her too situations which may trigger any confusion for her.
‘In the last two years I have started worrying more because she is getting older now and I don’t know what the future holds.
‘But it is hard to be upset when Alice is always smiling back at me.’
Alice also suffers from epilepsy, global development delay, problems swallowing, sensory difficulties, eczema, low muscle tone and poor immune system – which causes her to often fall ill.