Charity shows it is all heart with two new centres

Charity shows it is all heart with two new centres

A charity which supports families of children with serious heart conditions is setting up two new hubs so it can extend its reach – and with the easing of Covid restrictions looking forward to face-to-face meetings for the first time in months.

Heart Heroes is opening hubs in Devon and Cornwall, so it can help even more families, with its regular events, support groups and signposting services. This now brings the total to five hubs, with the others in Gloucester (where Heart Heroes is based), Bristol and Wales.

“Heart Heroes supports families of children living with heart conditions and our goal is for children and their siblings to be included in all our events, along with parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and any other close family,” said charity founder Kelly Cornish.

“By opening new centres, we can reach more families. We can’t wait to get going again with our meet-ups, which will start in May. These are a great chance for parents and families to get together and share experiences and support one another.”

The Devon Heart Heroes Hub is being run by Tamsin Field and Lin Ordish and the first of the monthly get togethers will be on Friday May 7, 10am-12.30pm, at Highweek Village Hall, Newton Abbot.

Tamsin’s son Archie, nearly three, was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, affecting the blood flow through his heart, which wasn’t picked up during pregnancy.

When Archie was born Tamsin, from Totnes, felt there was a problem but had difficulty persuading the medics something was wrong with her son.

“I had an older child, Amelia, so I knew what a normal healthy baby should be like and it was clear to me Archie was struggling. He seemed to be sucking hard for breath and he couldn’t feed, just taking a few sips then stopping and having to pant,” said Tamsin.

“I took him to numerous doctors, and I felt so frustrated. Eventually, I got him referred and they found a murmur in his heart. When he was scanned they realised it was much more serious.”

Archie has undergone open heart surgery and faces further surgery as he grows up, but he is currently well and managing the condition.

Lin’s daughter Ella is now 28, a mum herself to Harri, and runs the Heart Heroes Hub in Wales. But when Ella was born, with Transposition of the Great Arteries, Lin, from Budleigh Salterton, had no idea at first that anything was wrong.

“A paediatrician on the ward thought Ella was looking a little dusky and she wasn’t waking for a feed. She was whisked to special care, a cardiologist saw her and the decision was made to operate. It was a massive shock.”

Both Tamsin and Lin are eager to help Heart Heroes by launching the Devon hub, and to reach out to families going through the same experiences they have.

Said Lin: “When I had Ella there was nothing like Heart Heroes, no support really, and it was hard to battle through all of this. So any help I can give back I am happy to.”

Tamsin added: “I think Lin and I bring different elements and experiences so we can help other families.”

For more information about the Heart Heroes Hub in Devon email lin@heartheroes.co.uk or tamsin@heartheroes.co.uk. For more about the work of Heart Heroes, visit https://heartheroes.co.uk/.