Why catching a cold could kill Leeds tot

Holly Crompton with her daughter Poppy.
Holly Crompton with her daughter Poppy.
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A cold may be a minor illness to most children – but for Poppy Crompton, it could send her into heart failure.

The tot, who was born with serious heart problems, has already had surgery twice and will need more in future.

On two occasions, picking up common colds affected her so badly that her heart started to fail.

Now Poppy’s mum Holly is speaking out to raise awareness during Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.

And she is supporting the Leeds-based charity which helped her while Poppy spent weeks in Leeds General Infirmary.

Holly, from Roundhay, Leeds, said: “Congenital heart defects affect one in 100 children, yet many parents like me are totally unaware until they almost lose their child.

“If I can stop that happening to one family I’ll be happy.”

Poppy seemed like a healthy, chubby baby when she was born in June last year, but at just over a week old started going blue, and a week later became very ill.

At LGI doctors tried to find out what was wrong and eventually diagnosed AVSD, a complex heart defect, which included her having two holes in her heart.

“Her chubbiness was down to body retaining fluid because her heart was failing,” Holly, 19, said.

Three days later she had surgery, going home after two weeks. But Poppy struggled to feed and in August medics decided to fit a naso-gastric tube.

During her stay she went into heart failure again and after four weeks, doctors decided she needed further surgery.

She returned home in October but has regular appointments and still has the feeding tube to help her gain weight.

Holly said her daughter was lively and starting to eat solid foods, with the hope that she reaches 15 kilos before she needs to have surgery again.

“I am so grateful to Leeds for saving Poppy’s life,” Holly added.

“Without them she wouldn’t be here. As it is she’s a healthy happy baby, and you wouldn’t be able to tell she had a condition if she didn’t have a feeding tube.”

She said she felt very lucky that the Leeds children’s heart surgery unit, which had previously been under threat, had remained in the city and she didn’t have to travel to Newcastle.

Holly is raising money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which supports LGI unit, to recognise the financial support it gave her when Poppy was very ill.

“I want to put back into the pot, so a family going through what we went through can have the same support,” she said.

The young mum has organised fundraising events at children’s centres in Roundhay and Moortown today (Feb 13) and tomorrow. (Feb 14)

Donate via: www.justgiving.co.uk/hoppycrompton

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