Mum's Ramadan appeal after Leeds heart surgeons saved daughter's life
A mum who shed tears of joy after her heart surgeons in Leeds gave her four-year-old daughter the gift of life is urging the Muslim community to support the Children's Heart Surgery Fund during Ramadan.
Sameeda Ramzan said she broke down after seeing her daughter Alayna for the first time after seven hours of open heart surgery.
Alayna, who was born with life threatening congenital heart disease, will still need a heart transplant at some point in the future but for now she is recovering well and looking forward to starting school later this year.
Sameeda, 37, who works as a nursery nurse, said the Children's Heart Surgery (CHSF) fund paid for accommodation so she could stay just minutes away from her daughter's bedside over ten nights at Leeds Children's Hospital following the surgery in February.
"I was so anxious during the surgery," said Sameeda. "I was upset and I just didn't know what to do with myself.
"It was such a relief to see her. I did break down in tears, but they were happy tears.
"The care was outstanding. Everyone at the children's hospital was absolutely marvellous, nothing was too much trouble for them to make sure she was well cared for and happy."
And Sameeda urged people to support the Children's Heart Surgery Fund during Ramadan.
"I couldn't imagine leaving her - I would have slept on the floor if I had to just to be with her," Sameeda said.
"I don't know what we would have done without the support of the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, it means everything to my family."
Sameeda said she discovered after her 20 week scan that Alayna would be born with heart problems.
Alayna first underwent heart surgery to insert a Glenn shunt to aid her breathing when she was eight months old.
The operation in February was called a fontan procedure.
Sameeda said Alayna will have to take blood thinning medication for the rest of her life, adding: "the fontan will give her a better quality of life. But she will need a heart transplant at some point."
Sameeda said she wanted to give something back to Leeds Children's Hospital so she made 20 Ramadan packs for young patients.
The arts and craft packs included wooden stencils and colouring pencils
Sharon Milner, chief executive of the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, said: "One in 100 babies of all ethnicities are born with heart disease in Yorkshire, and CHSF is behind each and every one through the life-saving work of the world-class Leeds Congenital Heart Unit."
"CHSF have helped support the heart, mind, family and future of patients with congenital heart disease for over 30 years thanks solely to public donations."
"The COVID pandemic has affected charity income in recent times, but with your help we can continue to give children like Alayna the best possible start in life."
Hanif Malik, Children's Heart Surgery Fund ambassador, said: “Ramadan is a holy period for Muslims globally - a time to fast and focus attention on giving to charity.”
"This year, I would encourage fellow Muslims to take inspiration from heart warrior Alayna's story and donate to CHSF."
"Your Zakat can make all the difference in the world to children born with heart disease in our region, and keep families together."
To donate to the The Children's Heart Surgery Fund's Ramadan campaign, go to www.chsf.org.uk/ramadan