Two-year-old from Preston born with half a heart to feature in new Little Hearts Matter film

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A new film that aims to raise awareness for children born with half a heart features a family from Preston.

Little Hearts Matter, the only charity in the UK and Ireland dedicated to supporting and empowering anyone affected by the diagnosis of a single ventricle heart condition (or "half a heart"), has launched an animated film designed to raise awareness about this serious condition.

Little Hope with her family. Little Hope with her family.
Little Hope with her family. | UGC

Narrated by the voices of these parents, the animation poignantly captures the daily challenges and triumphs of families affected by the condition.

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She said: “Our little girl, Hope, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome just over two years’ ago.

Hope, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome just over two years ago. Hope, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome just over two years ago.
Hope, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome just over two years ago. | UGC

“Her condition is rarer, but less severe than those born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, meaning Hope didn’t need her first heart surgery until she was five weeks’ old.

“Sadly though, most of her first winter with us was spent in and out of hospital due to various infections. 

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“We have a little boy, too, called Ethan who started school just a couple of weeks before Hope’s first surgery.

“This meant that I had to be away from both Ethan and my husband during this time, as we were based at Alder Hay Children’s Hospital.

“It was a real challenge for all of us, but Little Hearts Matter provided much needed support and encouragement throughout.”

Hope had her second open heart surgery eight months ago and is doing amazingly well.

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She’s now walking but will need another major surgery (her Fontan) between the ages of four and seven, which means she’s classed as a “late Fontaner”, as this usually takes place before school age.

Kimberley added: “Seeing the finished film is quite an emotional moment, as it’s the reality of our children's lives however long or short they may be.

“Little Hearts Matter have provided support in all aspects of our journeys, and we are so thankful to them for everything. “Creating the film with other heart families was quite comforting.

“It was nice to connect with people who understand our journey, and insightful seeing how each family was affected differently.

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The project highlights the personal journeys of these families, detailing the medical, emotional, and practical hurdles they face.

From multiple surgeries to navigating everyday life, the animation sheds light on the resilience and strength of these children and their families.

The film was produced by award-winning Media Co-Op and is a collaboration between the charity, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and parents of children living with this complex congenital heart defect. Lisa Davies, CEO of Little Hearts Matter added: “We are incredibly proud to share this animated film with the public.

“It’s a true testament to the bravery of our families and the collaborative spirit of our community.

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“Our goal is to urgently raise awareness of the challenges of supporting a child with a life-limiting condition such as a single ventricle heart and inspire others to find out how they can make a difference themselves.”

Based in the Midlands, but working across the UK, Little Hearts Matter’s support often starts at the point of diagnosis, where parents receive the devastating news that their unborn child has an incurable, life-limiting heart condition, and follows them through every step of their half a heart journey.

This includes their first heart operation at just a few days old, into life at home and beyond.

For more information about little hearts click HERE.

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