A GRATEFUL mum whose world was turned upside down when her new-born son had emergency open heart surgery is encouraging people to wear red and raise vital funds.
Melannie Hensby’s 11-week-old son Kian underwent an eight-hour operation after a routine visit to his GP found he had a congenital heart disease (CHD).
Kian — now a happy and healthy four-year-old — and his four siblings will be taking part in today’s Wear Red Day to raise money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which supports babies and children living with CHD.
Melannie, of Herringthorpe, urged people to get involved — either by wearing red socks or going all-out with a crimson costume.
She said: “As with our story, nobody could have foreseen what was coming and without this fantastic charity and the work they do, others might not be as fortunate in the future.”
Money raised goes towards Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, which covers the whole of Yorkshire.
Fund chief executive Sharon Milner said: “Wear Red Day is now in its sixth year and because of the generous public, we have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds towards bridging the shortfall in NHS provision for medical equipment, facilities and research.”
Kian’s condition was detected after his routine eight-week assessment at Clifton Medical Centre.
His GP discovered a heart murmur and immediately referred him to Rotherham Hospital.
Melannie said: “We were lucky Dr Elspeth Brown from the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit was in attendance at Rotherham that day.
“She quickly fast-tracked us to Leeds, where they discovered Kian needed emergency treatment.”
Tests found Kian had a narrowing of the aorta and a heart valve defect.
Melannie described the operation as “a very long and frightening” eight hours — adding: “Without the support we received, we couldn’t have got through this.
“Everyone was fantastic and helped us through the events and we feel we gained a new family at Leeds and will always be grateful for what they have done for us as a family.”
Kian, who attends Trinity Croft primary academy in Dalton, will need regular check-ups every 18 months for the rest of his life.
To donate, text WEAR19 followed by £1, £2, £3, £5 or £10 to 70070.
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