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 Cornwall Heart Heroes Hub is being run by Charlotte Aldridge and the first of the monthly get togethers will be on Monday May 24, at Turners Hall Scout Hut, Turo, from 10am to midday.
Charlotte got involved with Heart Heroes following the experience of having her first baby, Jayden, when she was 18. At her 20 week scan, doctors picked up a problem and immediately contacted specialists at Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Jayden was found to have Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) and Charlotte was told to he would need to undergo surgery within days of being born.
“I was just terrified when I was told,” said Charlotte, from Liskeard. “I really hoped he was fine but when we were scanned again with the consultants watching on a screen from Bristol they found not just the TGA but other problems too.”
Induced at 37 weeks, and following a difficult labour and delivery, Jayden was whisked away after spending just moments with Charlotte. At five days old and again at eight days he underwent surgery. Now aged eight, he’s had surgery a further 11 times, and is hospital for a couple of weeks each time.
Charlotte – now also mum to Oscar, four, and Scott, three – can’t rule out further surgery for Jayden, although he is currently well and healthy.
“This depends on Jayden and how he grows. He has had one of his heart valves replaced, and the other one may start to have a similar problem. We’ll just have to see how he gets on.”
Now Charlotte wants to support other parents who are facing similar challenges. “When I had Jayden, there was nothing like Heart Heroes. I know a few families already in Cornwall but since word got out about the new Hub I have been contacted by another five or six. We just want to reach out to others, get them connected and put them in touch so they can support one another and not feel as alone as I did.”