Torfaen boy born with heart defect raising money for charity
2:47pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
LITTLE Harri Rhodes smile is a joy for his parents to see.
Five years ago, Kirsty and Iestyn Rhodes welcomed him into the world but at just six weeks, he was diagnosed with a heart defect.
After undergoing operations, he still faces a further operation in the future but is enjoying life.
Now, to thank organisations that helped their son, Mr and Mrs Rhodes are organising a charity walk which will take place later this month.
The youngster was first diagnosed with a transposition of the great arteries at just six weeks old.
Mrs Rhodes said: “Health visitors had commented on him having a blue tone but we were told it could be wind.
“When we were told that it was serious and he had to go to hospital we felt shell shocked.”
Harri was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport before being transferred by ambulance to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
The condition meant Harri’s heart wasn’t connected properly and blood which didn’t have oxygen in it was getting pumped around the body instead of blood which does contain oxygen.
He underwent a procedure to increase the amount of oxygen containing blood getting around his body, by widening an opening in his heart so the blood could mix.
Mrs Rhodes said: “To gain access to his heart they went through his groin. This was in preparation for a bigger operation that he underwent at 19 months.”
The operation was nine hours long and involved repairing the vessels and reconnecting them to the correct positions.
Mrs Rhodes said: “We had a lot of support from organisations, and stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Bristol so we could be near Harri when he was having his operation.”
Since that operation, Harri has had yearly check-ups and in the future he will have to have an operation to replace an artificial vessel, but he is currently like any other five year old.
Harri, his parents and his younger brother, Alec, 4, will take part in the charity walk over Newport's Transporter Bridge on September 29 to raise funds for the Bristol Wallace and Gromit Foundation and The British Heart Foundation.
She said: “Harri took an interest in my husband’s charity fundraising previously and wanted to do something.
“We hope that the public will support us by taking part.”
Harri’s event has been supported by his class mates at New Inn Primary, who will be donning their fancy dress costumes and embarking on the 400 metre walk and climbing 277 steps.
If you are interested, the combined cost for adult and child is £5 which includes the walk, refreshments and certificate.
To register call Kirsty on 07702795080 or contact Transporterbridgewalk@outlook.com
To donate visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HarriRhodes
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