Claire’s daughter Victoria was born in April 2005. She was a healthy baby but at nine months old, following a supposed cold that wouldn’t go away, Victoria became seriously ill very quickly and almost lost her life to heart disease.
Thinking that your daughter is going to die is the worst experience I have ever gone through.
Claire says, "The virus nearly took her life. Victoria’s had a second chance at life, and she certainly makes the most of it. She’s very sporty and to look at she’s a happy, healthy girl. Victoria really is our little miracle.
By taking part in the BHF’s London to Brighton Bike Ride we to raise money that will mean other children and their families will also get that second chance." Within 24 hours of going to the GP Victoria had been to two hospitals and gone into cardiac arrest three times. Victoria was then transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where she had an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to give her heart a rest and medics did a biopsy of her heart tissue. Victoria had a parvo virus, commonly known as ‘slapped cheek’, which was attacking her heart.
"I was stood at the end of the bed when Victoria went into cardiac arrest for the third time. Thinking that your daughter is going to die is the worst experience I have ever gone through. Doctors at the hospital were stunned at the result of her biopsy. Victoria’s blood was so acidic they told me she shouldn’t be alive. Her liver and kidneys were almost completely shut down.Her heart was quivering, rather than beating."
Victoria spent 2 weeks in hospital. The ECMO gave Victoria’s heart and organs the chance to repair and fight off the virus. Her condition improved from 6% to around 12% normal heart function, enough to be transferred, and she went back home to Bristol Children’s Hospital. It took another 18 months before Victoria returned to good health. These days, alongside her 14 year old sister Katherine, 12 year old Victoria swims and cycles regularly.
Claire’s husband Ian took on the London to Brighton Bike Ride a few years ago for the British Heart Foundation. So this year Claire, Ian and Katherine are taking part together and Victoria will be cheering them on. Victoria hopes to cycle in two years’ time, when she is old enough to take part.
Heart attack history
Our life saving research over the past 50 years has helped to revolutionise treatments which means that around 70% of people now survive a heart attack.
But there is still so much more we can do. To help us fund our vital research, you can take part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride 2018. Help us ride all over heart disease.
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