Girl’s zipwire for hospital
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