A group of parents who have supported each other through their children’s heart problems are hoping to raise thousands for Bristol Children’s Hospital.
MUMS who endured the agony of discovering their babies had life-threatening heart conditions are raising thousands-of-pounds to help those in similar situations.
Barnstaple-based Kay Adams was devastated to find her 12-day-old daughter Grace had to have life-saving open-heart surgery.
Grace was born in 2008 with an undiagnosed transposition of the great arteries and a hole in her heart.
Kay said: “When it’s your first child, it is so frightening, you feel helpless and very alone sometimes.
“You see adverts for things like cancer all the time, yet never for anything like this.
“I had no idea about any of these heart problems when I was pregnant; it’s not something you hear about all the time.”
Isolated and desperate to find support, Kay set up the North Devon Heart Babies’ group online in November 2011 using social networking website Facebook.
Kay believed she was alone in her suffering, but said she was amazed to find that nearly six-months since it was founded, the group now had around 80 members.
Now the parents involved in the group are organising a fund-raiser for Ward 32 at Bristol Children’s Hospital, where their children receive the majority of their treatments.
Kay, from Barnstaple, said: “We want to buy at least two saturation monitors, which cost around £500 each, as parents desperately need to take them home to measure how much oxygen is in their children’s blood.
“It’s also little things like better tea and coffee making facilities for the parents’ room. When you’re waiting for hours for your child to come out of surgery, a cup of tea could help comfort you, but there aren’t even the facilities for that.”
The Family Fun Day will be held at the Tarka Tennis centre in Barnstaple on April 28 between 2pm and 6pm to raise as much money as they can for the ward.
Entry will cost £1 and includes exciting guests for the children, as well as games, refreshments and a range of stalls for the grown-ups to browse.
There will also be a raffle and auction, with prizes and lots including a weekend away in a country cottage, family tickets for local attractions, a £200 golfing day for four, hair and beauty treatments and toys, all donated by local businesses.
Lindsay Butler, a member of the group, knows all too well how much the event means to parents in her position. Her nine-month-old daughter Ava was born with her heart on the wrong side of her body.
Lindsay said: “It is tough having to travel to Bristol all the time. We hope that we can at least make the experience a bit less difficult by improving the ward.
“Having the support group has been fantastic. I’ve never really wanted to talk in public about Ava’s condition before, but if it will help us raise the money then I will do that.”
Kay added: “I hope everyone will come and enjoy the event and help us raise money to give these children the best possible care. We want to thank everyone who has helped make this event possible.”
For more information, visit the North Devon Heart Babies event page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/291870187544041/9