Lancashire youngster Megan Fish was born with a complex heart condition and is an ambassador for Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Charity. AASMA DAY talks to Fiona Fish about Megan’s story and how she enjoyed a right royal affair at the official opening of the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
Bright and enthusiastic, six-year-old Megan Fish lives her life to the full and doesn’t let anything hold her back.
To look at the beaming young girl, you would never guess she has undergone numerous operations to treat a serious congenital heart defect including heart bypass surgery.
Megan, who lives in Leyland, has taken everything she has faced in her stride and is a charity ambassador for Alder Hey where she has received all her care and has had £32,000 raised in funds for the hospital’s charity in her name.
Alder Hey has moved into a new hospital, “Alder Hey in the Park”, which is Europe’s first hospital in a park and provides a purpose-built healing environment for children and young people.
Alder Hey in the Park was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and, as a young ambassador, Megan was one of those invited to attend and waved Union Jack flags to welcome the Queen and the Duke to the new Alder Hey.
Mum Fiona Fish, 36, who is married to Richard and also has three-year-old son Jack, says: “Megan has had all her care from Alder Hey since birth and everyone has been wonderful.
“Megan is a charity ambassador for Alder Hey and family and friends have raised £32,000 so far through all sorts of fundraising ventures including bike rides, charity evenings, sponsored runs, casino nights and comedy evenings. Megan was one of the first children to see inside the brand new hospital and she was invited to the official opening of the hospital by the Queen and Prince Philip and had a lovely time.
“Megan is such a happy little girl and, considering everything she has been through, she does not let it hold her back at all.”
Megan was born in July 2009 after a normal pregnancy and labour, but just 24 hours later, doctors discovered what they thought was a heart murmur.
However, after investigations, it was found that Megan had a serious congenital heart defect and, at three days old, she was moved to Alder Hey Hospital.
Fiona, who is a business assistant at Parklands High School in Chorley, explains: “Megan’s heart condition became progressively worse and when she was six weeks old, she had her first operation to have a shunt fitted to help more oxygen get around her body.”
When Megan was just 14 months old, she had the first stage of heart bypass surgery which was an eight-hour operation involving stopping her heart and using a heart and lung bypass machine. However, just a few months later in March 2011, Megan collapsed at home and suffered five mini strokes and they were found to have been caused by a blood clot from the operation. Megan was put on warfarin and recovered from the strokes.
Megan was then fine and began attending Leyland Methodist infant school. In June 2014, doctors decided she was ready for the next stage of her heart bypass surgery. It was again an eight-hour operation but this time recovery was longer as Megan picked up an infection.
Since then, she has been doing well and, just two weeks ago, she went back into hospital for her latest operation to close a hole that was left to regulate pressure so Megan now has more oxygen in her blood.
Fiona says: “Megan loves being in the spotlight and really enjoyed attending the official opening of the new hospital by the Queen.
“It is wonderful to see her doing well and enjoying life and we are so grateful for everything Alder Hey have done for her.
“We want to give something back and that is why we are keen to do anything we can to support their charity appeal.”
The new Alder Hey in the Park has 270 beds including 48 critical care beds for patients in intensive care, high dependency and burns together with 16 digitally enhanced operating theatres. Alder Hey has also built a research, education and innovation centre called “Institute in the Park”. It will allow researchers and clinicians to work with industry to develop safer, better medicines and therapies for children to use in the NHS and throughout the world.
At the official opening, the Royal Party had a tour of the new hospital and listened to Alder Hey’s staff choir perform as well as meeting children involved in the design of the hospital. The Queen unveiled a plaque to officially open Alder Hey in the Park.
Cath Harding from Alder Hey Children’s Charity, says: “It was lovely to see Megan and all our young fundraising ambassadors at the official opening of the new Alder Hey In The Park by Her Majesty the Queen.
“Our young ambassadors have played a vital role in raising much needed funds for the new hospital helping Alder Hey Children’s Charity to provide lifesaving equipment and patient experience initiatives alongside funding for vital research projects. On behalf of Alder Hey Children’s Charity, I would like to say a big thank you to Megan and all our young charity ambassadors. We are grateful for their continuous support and hope they enjoyed what was a proud and unforgettable day for everyone here at Alder Hey.”