Youngters inspired to donate to heart charity

Budding swimmers from Chorley raised over £1,400 by wearing their pyjamas to a swim session for a charity close to their hearts.
Tristan Beresford and his mum, Kate BeresfordTristan Beresford and his mum, Kate Beresford
Tristan Beresford and his mum, Kate Beresford

One of the little swimmers at Puddle Ducks, 19 month old Tristan, lives with a rare heart condition called Heterotaxy Syndrome.

It means that only half of Tristan’s heart is formed and what there is of his heart is back to front, and on the wrong side of his body.

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Tristan’s mum Kate Beresford, who is a teacher, said: “Tristan has overcome so many hurdles in such a short life already.

“We were advised we might want to terminate our pregnancy, he stopped breathing at less than 10 minutes old, we were told his heart was too complex to operate and they said he wouldn’t survive to his first birthday due to complications.

“But Tristan has proved them wrong at each step and we have faith that he will continue to do so and continue to wow the amazing medical professionals who help him.”

Tristan is currently two open heart surgeries into a three stage programme to create a single ventricle circulatory system called the Fontan Procedure. This will help Tristan’s body to cope with the demands of everyday life. Ultimately however he could require a heart transplant when he is older.

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As Tristan’s medical care continues it’s his weekly swimming classes that both he and mum Kate look forward to. Kate said: “Tristan absolutely loves swimming. As a fulltime working mum it is our special time on a Saturday. I am not sure who looks forward to it more, him enjoying himself splashing about or me watching how happy he is in the water.

“Depending on how he is feeling each week, Tristan is able to take the lesson at a pace he feels comfortable.

Swimming is a great form of exercise for children with heart failure as it is a personal sport, he can do as much or as little as he feels able each week without the fear of letting anyone else down. He will never be able to take part in team sports competitively as his heart will not keep up with the pace.

“Thanks to Puddle Ducks using a hydrotherapy pool, Tristan has been able to stop wearing his wetsuit all the time, which helps him regulate his temperature. He loves feeling the water on his body. This has helped him to engage with the lessons more fully.”

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Every autumn, swim school Puddle Ducks, which holds classes at Euxton Pool and Shaw Hill Golf Club in Whittle-le-woods, holds a week long charity pyjama event. Children raise money by attending lessons dressed in their pyjamas, teaching them valuable water safety and survival skills.

This year Puddle Ducks’ chosen charity was Little Hearts Matter. It is a national charity offering help to anyone affected by the diagnosis of single ventricle heart condition.

From initial antenatal diagnosis, through treatments and into life at home, the charity works with children, young adults and families to reduce the isolation, fear and lack of understanding created when a child is diagnosed as having half a working heart.

Jo Gribben from Puddle Ducks said: “We can see the fantastic work they do supporting Tristan and his family and we know how much Tristan enjoys swimming so we knew it was a worthy charity to raise money for.”

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