Wright family raise funds for the '¨NI Children's Heartbeat Trust

When little Annabeth Wright was born her family's delight and happiness at her arrival became overshadowed by the worries for their beautiful little bundle of joy as she faced a year of surgery and hospital visits.

Sunday, 3rd April 2016, 12:00 pm

Before Mum Zara gave birth to her daughter, Annabeth had been diagnosed as having Complex Congenital Heart Disease.

Annabeth’s Grandmother Jennifer Wright explained; “My little Granddaughter was born with Congenital Heart Disease. The problem with Annabeth’s heart was picked up when Zara had her 20 week scan and you can imagine the size of a baby’s heart at that point yet they were able to see that she has three chambers in her heart where other people have four. They identified the condition so at least before Zara went in to have the baby they knew there was a problem.

“When she was five months old she went to Birmingham to have the operation on her heart, which was successful but because they had to cut through other things to get to the heart it led to complications and she had to spend around five months in hospital between the Royal and Birmingham. It was very tough on everyone and Annabeth’s brother was at home, so it wasn’t an easy time.

“It was during this time we came across the Heartbeat Trust who proved to be invaluable to the family. The charity does a lot of work for children in the Clark Ward in the Royal Victoria Hospital which is specifically for children with heart problems. Then if parents have to travel to Birmingham or London they step in and offer support and help.

“The first time Annabeth had to go to Birmingham Zara and Timothy were away for a week but the second time she had to go back because she had complications they were there for about four or five weeks. It’s good to know that there is someone like the Heartbeat Trust keeping an eye out for them and that there is someone who can liaise with the Royal etc if needed. You can lift the phone to them at any time, no matter what the problem and they will help.”

The Wright family were so impressed with the help and support they received from the Children’s Heartbeat Trust that they decided to raise money for the charity.

“As a family we wanted to give something back,” added Jennifer. “This charity has been a great help to Annabeth’s mum and dad as they faced a very difficult year and we wanted to show as Annabeth’s grandparents, our appreciation for the work they do.

“We presented a cheque on behalf of Décor-Wright Paints Ltd and Portadown Cycling club. My husband and I run Décor-Wright Paints Ltd and we held a variety of events like bun sales and raffles to raise money to add to the donation from Portadown Cycling Club who held a day to raise money for the charity. The charity has to rely heavily on donations, especially now that the Royal Victoria no longer perform heart operations on children and everyone has to travel over to England for surgery.”

Having been through a gruelling first year, Annabeth’s second year has been hospital free apart from her regular check-ups. However, as she grows up more surgery is on the cards for this brave little girl.

“Basically the surgery Annabeth had after she was born fixed the top half of her heart, however, as she gets older and the symptoms start to show again then they will fix the artery coming up from bottom half of her body,” explained Jennifer. “This could happen when she is five, it could be when she is ten, they don’t know when it will happen.

“At the moment she is a really active wee girl and doing really well. She would probably be 85/90% energy wise of a normal child and you have to watch that she doesn’t get over tired. It will be when she gets to school age when you will notice it more and more as she tries to keep up with other kids. She may get tired quicker and get out of breath quicker but at the minute she is a livewire with no fear whatsoever which is brilliant.

“This has been a real eye opener for all of us and we would encourage folk to donate to this worthy charity, it is invaluable to families who are going through a very stressful and difficult time.”

If you would like to make a donation or find out more about the charity go to:www.childrensheartbeattrust.org or email: [email protected]