Faces of CHD-UK

Who are the faces representing CHD-UK? Who are they? We thought we would have a page where you can find out more about them and how through their ages that they all have one thing in common - being born with a congenital heart defect.

Jack Gallagher
Hi Everyone, I’m Jack Gallagher, I am one year old and I was born with TGA (Transposition Of The Great Arteries)
I was born at ST Mary’s Hospital Manchester on the 15th October 2011, when I was born I was Blue and could not breath, baby’s with my condition are called Blue Baby’s I wasn’t allowed to stay with my mummy when I came into the world the doctors took me straight away, they thought I couldn’t breath due to swallowing some of my own poo, (my mummy and daddy did not know anything was wrong during pregnancy, all my scans were fine and mummy had regular heart beat check ups at the local clinic) whilst the doctors were trying to help me breath my daddy was there with me whilst mummy was recovering, this is when after some test they found out what was wrong with me, when they had stabilised me I was taken to ICU.

At one day old I underwent my first operation a Balloon Septostomy, I spent a week in ICU at Manchester with a few complications, when I passed urine there was blood in it and I just couldn’t live without the ventilator it took them some time to ween me of it but after some time and the first operation I managed to breath without it.

Then followed the next big step of my journey, I was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where I was put on a high care unit until I could have my open heart surgery, everyday was a struggle I had ups and downs but I had great nurses and Mummy, Daddy, Nana, Grandad and my aunties and uncles by my side the whole way.

I wasn’t due to have my operation but the doctors came and said I was deteriorating and if I didn’t go for it now I wouldn’t survive, so the decision was made, this was it, my Mummy, Daddy and Nana kissed me held me tight said they loved me and then the doctors took me.

The surgery (which for my condition they call ‘the Switch’) took about eight hours but I did well and came through it, I spent the next two and a half days in ICU until I could breath again, when they could take me of the ventilator they put a head box on me just to help me a little with my breathing, then my mummy and daddy were told I was going back to the High Care Ward, everyday was a fighting struggle and then over time I had all my tubes removed it was then for the first time my mummy and daddy could walk round with me freely.

After some time I was moved into the other side of the ward where my sats were still monitored but I could leave the ward for fresh air with mummy and daddy, I was due to go home but I got an infection in my scar so I had to stay a little longer, but then on bonfire night the 5th November 2011 I was told by doctors I could go home.

Well I have had a great year and I’m coming on really well just starting to find my feet I can say hiya and Daddy, I love my cartoons I love smiling, the doctors are very happy with my heart, I have had my regular check ups at the hospital for my heart and at my most recent was told I don’t have to go back for nine months, I will have the check ups for the rest of my life, but the doctors are happy with me and I have all my family and friends by my Side the whole way.

Thanks for reading my story
Big smiles Jack x x

SallyAnne Addicott
SallyAnné here, I am 19 and an outgoing girl who loves music and dancing, and collecting Rubber Ducks so far I have 65! I’m currently at college studying BND Childcare and in my last year, and hopefully in future I will work as a Nursery Nurse or in a school, Year 1 that’s my aim.

I have a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot which means a heart defect changes the flow of blood through the heart. I had open heart surgery on the 22nd of Dec 2011, now have a tissue valve! My bundle branch is blocked and I have a systomolic murmur and a fraction at 40%

Melissa Bedford
I’m Melissa Bedford I am 25 years old and live in Ipswich Suffolk.

My congenital heart defect (CHD) is AVSD (Atrioventricular septal defect) doctors didn’t know I had a CHD until I was 17 months old, my mum continued to take me back to the doctors but they wouldn’t believe anything was wrong until I had to go to hospital for an operation on my thumbs.

I had my first open heart surgery when I was 2 years old an again at 5. I still have two leaking valves, and I go for yearly check ups at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

I live a healthy life I have 2 beautiful children Jaycee 2 and Ryland 11 months old, and lovely boyfriend Shane been together nearly 5 years.

I love my job which is working in a pre-school with 2-3 year olds which I’ve been doing for 5 years. I have a big family and I love spending time with them. I love tattoos (which I know is a risk with CHD) I have 12 and one of them is for CHD and will be getting more!!

CHD-UK have kindly been given permission to use the photographs from Sarah, SallyAnne and Melissa.

Here they are on the picture that CHD-UK will be using in all publicity:

Wrote: 20th November 2012