A MUM and her one-year-old son are walking 180 miles to raise awareness for congenital heart disease after the family was impacted by the illness.
Katie Lawrence and partner Dean were told at their 20 week scan their baby had a serious heart condition meaning the pulmonary artery and aorta were the wrong way around.
Doctors advised the couple from Warwick to consider a termination, but they said it ‘wasn’t an option’ as they were ‘completely in love’ with their baby.
On June 13 2020 Acer was born and had to undergo open heart surgery.
Katie, who is now expecting her second child, said: “At one week and four days Acer had open heart surgery. I cried pretty much the entire time he was in theatre, even though I knew it was the best place for him.
“It wasn’t like I hadn’t cried every day since finding out his diagnosis anyway.”
Since then he has also undergone a second operation, which the family was supported through by charity Tiny Tickers.
The charity helps families whose baby or child has been diagnosed with congenital heart disease and also works to improve the detection, care and treatment of babies with serious heart conditions.
Katie hopes her son’s condition will start to improve. She added: “At 19 months Acer is currently in a stable condition following his two open heart surgeries. However, between the ages of three and five he will need another, as well as cardiac catheters and scans before and after surgery.
“The best case scenario means it will be mainly monitoring into adulthood without need for further intervention.”
To show their gratitude to the charity, 22-year-old Katie and Acer are walking 180 miles around Leamington by the end of January to raise money for the cause.
So far they have already clocked up some 100 miles.
Katie said: “Congenital heart disease affects one in every 125 babies in the UK meaning they are born with heart defects or abnormalities. This also means that last year 3,000 babies had open heart surgery.
“Acer was one of these children. He was diagnosed at my routine scan which sent my mind into turmoil, without Tiny Tickers I don’t think I could have coped at all. Their team and website are full of information meaning I was reassured my baby would get the best care.
“I feel so strongly about this charity, they deserve all the recognition in the world for what they do for families like mine.
“After a hard 2020 like many others if there’s any way I can help I plan to.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/katie-lawrence180 to donate or find out more.