My daughter was born with half a heart and had 6 ops in 7 months – but now she's tasted her first ever Xmas dinner

LITTLE Annabelle Main was born with half a heart ­– but that won’t stop her enjoying her first Christmas dinner.

The youngster, who will be two years old next month, had six major surgeries in seven months to keep her alive — the first at just five days old.


Full-time mum Christine, 33, said: “This year, Annabelle will be able to eat her first Christ­mas dinner after being tube-fed much of her life.

“There was a time we didn’t know if she’d make it this far. It’s a miracle to us Anna­belle is so strong.”

This Christmas The Sun’s Joy To The Ward appeal is raising money for NHS Charities Togeth­­er, which supports nearly 240 NHS causes.

These in­clud­e Evelina London Children’s Charity, which supports the hos­pit­al where Anna­belle’s life-saving procedures took place.

Christine and hus­band Barry, 35, a supermarket manager, of Law, South Lanark­shire, learned dur­ing pregnancy that Annabelle had hypo­plastic left heart syndrome, which means the left side of the heart was not developing properly.

Christine said: “It was terrifying. We were told she’d need surgery at birth or she would die.”

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Annabelle was born two weeks early weighing just 4lb at St Thomas’ Hospital London then transferred to the neighbouring Evelina London, a leading centre for heart abnormalities.

Christine said: “We didn’t know if she was going to make it through the first operation. We said our good­byes and hoped.”

Annabelle has since had two open-heart sur­geries, three keyhole catheter operations and an open-chest surgery.

Christine said: “Annabelle is do­ing fantast­ically and we can’t thank the amaz­ing team at Evelina London enough. They sav­ed our precious girl so many times.”

Experts at Evelina London would like more funding to help families like Annabelle’s with psychological support.

TV’s Dr Ranj Singh who works at the hospital and met Annabelle while filming Dr Ranj: On Call, said: “By supporting this appeal you can help children and their families get vital support to deal with what they’ve been through.”




HOW TO GIVE

The Sun’s Joy To The Ward appeal is raising money for NHS Charities Together, the national, independent charity supporting more than 230 NHS charities across the UK.

Your donations will help support children and families going through the toughest times imaginable, providing specialist equipment and services along with toys, play- workers, parents’ accommodation and much more.

DONATE ONLINE: Scan the QR code above with your phone camera to go straight through to our donation page or visitnhscharitiestogether.givesafely.org/joy.

DONATE BY TEXT: Text JOY to 70607 to donate £10 to NHS Charities Together. You’ll be charged £10, plus one message at your standard network rate. NHS Charities Together will receive 100% of your donation.

DONATE BY POST: Use the coupon on the left.

  • NHS Charities Together is the trading name of the Association of NHS Charities. Registered Charity No 1186569 (England & Wales) and SC050716 (Scotland). Company No 12325259

BLEAKEST WINTER IN HISTORY

By Ellie Orton, Chief Executive, NHS Charities Together

THE NHS is facing its toughest winter ever. Staff are tackling large waiting lists and clinics are overwhelmed by a backlog of patients and the growing impact of winter pressures – all while still having to deal with Covid-19.

Throughout all of this, NHS Charities Together is here to help, supporting isolated patients, funding counselling for exhausted staff, providing training for emergency response volunteers and much more.

The 238 member charities we support are based in hospitals and ambulance, community and mental health services across the UK. Collectively, they give more than £1million to the NHS every day, so people can stay well for longer and get better faster.

This includes thousands of sick children and their families in hospital right now.

Together, we help the NHS go further by listening to what staff and patients need and filling gaps where extra help is needed.

Vital extras

This help can bring joy at the darkest times – from brilliant hospital playworkers to special presents and a visit from Santa, or simple creature comforts that make hospital feel less like hospital.

The services NHS charities fund can also be genuinely life-changing, and even life-saving, whether that is providing a home away from home for parents of sick children, specialist equipment that helps a baby keep their sight or essential youth mental health services supporting communities across the UK.

All of this is often only possible with public support. And with pressures on services continuing to grow, that support is more important now than ever.

You can help us provide the vital extras that make a difference.

And as the national, independent charity caring for the NHS, we’ll make sure donations get right to the heart of where they are needed most.

We are so grateful for your ongoing support – at Christmas and all year round.

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