A HOUGHTON mum is on a very personal mission to raise awareness of and money for the Heart Research Fund for Wales.

Danielle Bond’s third child, Aled, was born with a heart defect and endured life-saving heart surgery at just five days old, leaving him with a scar stretching from under his left arm to the middle of his back.

Now a bouncing 20-month-old, Aled will always be under the care of cardiologists, but is otherwise likely to lead a normal life.

“At my 20-week scan, they found that Aled had co-arctation of the aorta and a bi-cuspid valve, so I was referred to Cardiff and spent the rest of my pregnancy under the care of hospitals in Cardiff and Bristol,” said Danielle. “It was a complete shock. There is no history of heart conditions in our family.”

The condition meant that Aled’s aortic valve was too narrow for blood to be able to flow down to the bottom part of his body.

“The surgeons had to go in and cut out the narrow part of the valve, then stick it back together so the blood could flow properly,” explained Danielle. “He probably won’t be able to play contact sports or join the Army, but he will be able to lead a mostly normal life. We were very lucky. Twenty years ago, a child like Aled would not have survived.”

Danielle is organising or taking part in a number of fundraising endeavours to raise awareness of the fact that services for the follow-up care of children post heart surgery are limited.

“Most of these children should be reviewed every six months, but the service is so stretched it can often take months longer than that for them to get an appointment,” said Danielle. “People often think of heart problems as something that affects older people, or the overweight, or smokers, but innocent children can also be affected. Aled has been lucky, but he has also been through so much.”

Danielle is holding a Baby and Pre-loved Fair this Saturday (March 29) at The Mission Hall in Hill Mountain 10-1pm. Tables can be booked for £10 each and all proceeds will go to Heart Research Fund for Wales. To book a table, call Danielle on 07816 876 020 or Jo on 07584 659 452.