ADORABLE schoolgirl Amelie Brown may look like a normal, happy six-year-old but she’s already been through a lot in her short life.
Amelie was born with a rare heart defect that means that she only has the left side of her heart.
The brave youngster has undergone several complex life-saving operations at Leeds General Infirmary to build a single-sided heart, which will enable Amelie to reach adulthood.
She is due to undergo her fourth major heart operation over the summer.
In a bid to boost funds for a charity that has supported the family through a difficult time, parents Julian and Lois Brown recently completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.
They joined a team of 58 others to tackle the charity challenge in just 12 hours and raised £15,000 for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF).
The group trekked over 24 miles and tackled a series of climbs that topped 2,000ft.
The CHSF funds vital equipment, staff, resources and training for the Leeds Congenital Heart Centre at the LGI.
More than 10,000 children pass through the unit every year, with around 400 youngsters lke Amelie having open-heart surgery.
Dad Julian said: “The work of the CHSF has touched so many lives in our region, so it was an honour to be able to raise money for such a deserving cause.
“The fund helps support children and their families who go through the Leeds Congenital Heart Centre by providing cutting edge equipment that the NHS simply can’t afford, as well as making the environment in which the children are treated as welcoming as possible.
“We have had first-hand experience of their work through Amelie, and what the cardiac team at the unit does on a daily basis is incredible.
“The staff and consultants go above and beyond and are truly a set of amazing people.”
Mum Lois said: “The Three Peaks challenge was difficult but it is quite poignant for us now as we go back into that loop that comes with the surgery.”
She added: “The charity supports us so much through that time and makes a huge difference to the life of a child like Amelie.
“She’s a cheeky character and is so excited to have the operation done so she can do all the things that other children her age can do.
“She’s just super positive and excited about feeling better and moving on.”
Sharon Cheng, chief executive of CHSF, also took part in the charity trek.
She said: “Conquering the Three Peaks is an incredible achievement and I would like to say a big thank you to Julian and Lois and the whole team of trekkers for choosing to support us and raising such a huge amount of money.
“Money raised helps to buy life-saving equipment, amongst many other things, for thousands of children from all over the region.”
Established in 1988, the CHSF is a charity that provides support for children and adults born with congenital heart defects.
It also provides equipment, resources, research, and a support service for children and their families. Based at the LGI, it covers Yorkshire, Humberside and North Lincolnshire.
To sponsor Julian and Lois, visit their Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/JulesandLoisBrown3Peaks.
For more information about the CHSF, visit the website at www.chsf.org.uk.