Little girl saved by Leeds surgeons after being born with abnormal heart to give back with charity walk

A brave little girl saved by Leeds surgeons after being born with an abnormal heart is set to give back to the hospital charity which helped her with a charity walk during the school holidays.

Monday, 1st August 2022, 4:30 pm

Ava Kirkby was born in February 2019 with critical Pulmonary Stenosis.

Ava's mum Jess Barber found out about her condition at her 35-week ultrasound scan.

Her heart was abnormally larger than usual.

Ava Kirkby was born in February 2019 with critical Pulmonary Stenosis.

Ava, from Doncaster, was immediately referred to Leeds for an in depth scan where her family received her diagnosis.

"Her valves were so narrow they told us to prepare for the worst when she arrived", Jess explained.

Ava was born two weeks later via caesarean section and was rushed to the NICU to have a procedure to open her valves.

The life-saving operation by Leeds surgeons saved her life.

Ava Kirkby was born in February 2019 with critical Pulmonary Stenosis.

"Ava recovered well and we were allowed home 10 days later", Jess said.

"She was doing amazing up until needing open heart surgery to correct the valve temporarily at 11 months old."

During the ordeal, the Leeds based Children's Heart Surgery Fund supported Ava's family.

"If it wasn’t for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund we would have never been able to stay beside Ava during these procedures", Jess added.

Ava Kirkby was born in February 2019 with critical Pulmonary Stenosis.

"Living an hour away, it would have been such a pain having to drive back and forth every day to see Ava in hospital.

"We got to stay in the parent accommodation during our stay which we are truly grateful for.

"This is why donations mean the world to CHSF, like giving a regular donation."

Ava was given a bear she named Katie after her surgery and a medal.

Ava Kirkby was born in February 2019 with critical Pulmonary Stenosis.

She still sleeps with the bear to this day, Jess said.

Ava is now on two yearly appointments with the cardiologist and starting full time school in September.

Jess said she enjoys nursery so much right now and her family can’t wait to see how she gets on in the future.

"You would never know she had gone through everything she has.

"She is such an active little girl with a big cheeky personality.

"From what we were told at the beginning to what she is now is just amazing.

"Without the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit Ava would not be here today.

"They are absolute miracle workers."

Ava is about to embark on a charity sponsored work to raise money for the charity during the summer holidays.

"It’s the least we can do after the help we’ve received from the whole team at Leeds", Jess said.

"We try our absolute best to donate to CHSF as and when we can, and take part in fundraisers to keep the donations coming."

Jess wanted to give a special mention to Giuseppe Pelella, the surgeon who has helped the family and performed surgery to help save Ava’s life.

The heart fund said you can help ensure the charity is there for more children like Ava and their families by making a regular gift.

Find out more by visiting the charity website here: https://www.chsf.org.uk/donate/?utm_source=yep&utm_medium=online&utm_campaign=regularava