Little Holly needs heart services to stay in Belfast

Published: 23 Sep 2012 12:41

When Fermanagh couple Elizabeth and Andrew Breen, from Clabby, learned earlier this year that their only daughter had a congenital heart condition, it came as a tremendous shock to them.

Holly Breen joined her father Andrew as they shared in the excitement surrounding Clogher Valley's League win in Limavady.

Three-year-old Holly, who will celebrate her fourth birthday on New Year's Eve, was diagnosed in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in March with Partial Atrial (VSD). She also has left AV valve dysfunction with regurgitation and mild right AV valve regurgitation.

According to her mother, the little girl, whose condition is a hole in her heart, a left valve defect and mild right valve defect, is waiting to be called for open heart surgery at Clark Clinic at the RVH, Belfast.

Elizabeth recalls the shock of hearing the news about Holly, who attends nursery school in Tempo, and now she is concerned about the future of Clark Clinic's services, where her daughter will be treated.

"I do not feel we should let the best in the world leave Northern Ireland," believes Elizabeth, who points out that Holly will need further surgery in the future and she would rather that she had it in the Province. Being away from home, she felt would prove isolating not only for Holly, but for herself and Andrew particularly if they couldn't be visited and supported by family and friends.

Elizabeth, Andrew and their families plan to attend a public meeting at Fermanagh Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen, at 7pm next Tuesday evening, September 25 as they want to express support for the Clark Clinic and "retaining surgery in Northern Ireland". The Clabby mother added that they would not want to lose such a vital local service for their children.

Following the diagnosis in March, she said they felt so grateful that they had this facility close to home and she wants to fight for its retention for anyone coming after them.

Elizabeth says she has written to politicians and has put up posters advertising Tuesday's public meeting in Enniskillen.

The Children's Heartbeat Trust, as part of the 'Hands Up' campaign, has organised public meetings throughout Northern Ireland "so that all the parents, families and interested parties can share their experiences and needs, highlighting exactly why saving children's heart surgery is so important to our families across the province."

The poster highlighting Tuesday's meeting notes: "A report has found that Children's Heart Surgery in Northern Ireland is safe but not sustainable. This means that over 140 families would have to travel hundreds of miles to another centre in the UK to receive surgery and treatment. We demand a local service for sick children in Northern Ireland. Protect and enhance children's heart services."

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