LIFE LINE

Girl’s zip­wire for hos­pi­tal

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Tom Py­man tpy­man@thek­m­group.co.uk @TomPy­manKM

Kerry Richards suf­fered ev­ery mother’s great­est fear back in 2007, when she was told her daugh­ter was suf­fer­ing from com­pli­cated heart prob­lems and may not pull through.

Doc­tors ini­tially sus­pected her baby, Jas­mine, who was born in Au­gust that year, had a hole in her heart and said she could un­dergo surgery af­ter six months.

But when the tot’s con­di­tion started to de­te­ri­o­rate, she was trans­ferred from Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal in Ash­ford to the Evelina Lon­don Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal. There she was rushed into surgery at just 21 days old for a ven­tric­u­lar sep­tal de­fect and an aor­tic coarc­ta­tion - a nar­row­ing of the artery.

Kerry, of Camp­bell Road, Maid­stone, could do lit­tle more than watch as lit­tle Jas­mine spent weeks fight­ing for her life in in­ten­sive care.

“To have this tiny baby I hadn’t even got to know, and they were say­ing she may not make it. It was ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fy­ing,” she said.

Luck­ily, the op­er­a­tion was a suc­cess and now, a decade on, Jas­mine wants to give some­thing back to the ward which saved her life. To­day (Thurs­day) she will take on a zip­wire chal­lenge in Arch­bishop’s Park in Lon­don to raise money for Evelina Chil­dren’s Heart Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ECHO). The 10-year-old, aYear 6 stu­dent at Park Way Pri­mary School, had ini­tially aimed to raise £350, but has al­ready col­lected more than £1,000 in do­na­tions.

“She has a scar down her front and I told her it’s be­cause her bat­ter­ies didn’t work when she was born and she needed an op­er­a­tion to charge them,” said Kerry, a bus driver for Arriva.

“Un­for­tu­nately she had a phase of be­ing picked on in lower pri­mary school but she hasn’t let it af­fect her.

“She has to be care­ful that she doesn’t overdo it, but she plays net­ball for school and takes it all in her stride. “She’s an ab­so­lute su­per­star.”

Do­nate at tinyurl.com/KM­jas

Ja­sine Richards, pic­tured left as a baby in in­ten­sive care, shorty af­ter she had heart surgery at Evelina Lon­don Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal and right, aged 10 with her mum Kerry

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