Birthday celebration is another ‘precious milestone’ for family
A day filled with cake, lots of games and new toys has helped Chanel Murrish celebrate as she reached her seventh birthday.
The Seaham schoolgirl was diagnosed with the rare Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome with Intact Atrial Septum heart condition when mum Fay, 31, and dad Micheal, 34, were expecting her.
She was rushed into theatre moments after she was delivered and given a life-saving operation – the first of 10 surgeries – and has since had a stroke and been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
In time, it is expected she will need a heart transplant, with her health constantly monitored for any signs of problems.
Since before her birth, Chanel’s family have worked to raise funds to help others like them and formed a network with parents and youngsters to support each other through the tough times they face.
To mark her birthday, she blew out the candles of her Minnie Mouse-themed cake and tackled a pinata alongside brothers Cole, who is eight years old, and Chase, who is 11 years old, and opened her gifts and played more games during the day.
It comes after her family was given a letter extending the time she needs to shield, due to the fact that Chanel is at an increased risk caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The measures have also kept her free of the usual bugs she would catch before the coronavirus caused additional concern.
Fay said: “Because of the lockdown she hasn’t been poorly for the last year and she usually picks up all the bugs because of her immune system.
"However, she’s been really well and we’ve had a lot of time together as a family.
"For us it’s been nice to just be normal and to be able to stay at home.
"Her milestones just make me remember about everything that’s happened in the past and makes us really celebrate, because it feels more precious, but we also think about all those children we’ve seen in hospital as well.
"That’s not just on Chanel’s birthday, but the boys as well, and we always appreciate these special times and to be at home for them as well.”
Chanel’s story can be followed through the Facebook page Chanel Murrish HLHS.