When Emelia Rose was four months old, she underwent open heart surgery after being born with a congenital heart defect.
For the majority of babies diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), their condition is a minor problem which either doesn’t need any treatment, or can be successfully corrected with surgery. Other conditions are more serious and sadly, some children do not survive. However, thanks to advances in early diagnosis, treatment and charities like Leeds-based Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), most children will grow up to lead full and active lives. Around 400 children in the Yorkshire and Humber region needed open heart surgery last year and some 10,000 children are treated at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) every year.
Children’s Heart Surgery Fund supports children and adults born with congenital heart conditions across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. Working alongside the unit at LGI, it is funded by generous donations from the general public and fundraisers. It funds ground-breaking new equipment, resources, training and research, as well as offering support for children and their families whenever they need it.
Grateful for the support and treatment that Emelia received, parents Charlie and Jonny Ross decided to give back: “We have raised for this charity before, and we will do so again. It really is a charity that is worthwhile donating to as they’re literally saving babies lives in Leeds every single day.” Charlie explained.
An initial target of £500 was smashed after the Ross family took part in a sponsored superhero walk to gather donations for the local fund. The mile-long fancy dress trek at Temple Newsam also allowed the parading families to enjoy face painting, balloon modelling, rides, a bouncy castle and craft stalls at the event.
Charlie continued: “CHSF are an amazing charity… [it provides] everything from a fish tank on the children’s ward for giving the children something to take their mind off being in hospital, toys for the playroom, and they also raise vital funds for expensive medical equipment that the doctors, nurses and surgeons need to save these little babies, older babies, and children’s lives.
“They even do things like make sure that every child who has had heart surgery is awarded with a teddy bear, a medal and a certificate. This may seem small, but it’s a massive gesture and it’s the small things like this that can make all the difference when you’re going through something so challenging.”
To donate to CHSF in honour of Emelia, visit Justgiving.com/fundraising/charlie-emelia.