This year, we are celebrating our 30th anniversary – we can only do we what do Because Of You.

We have been asking you to share your stories to help us celebrate those who inspired you to become involved in Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

Marc Blackburn takes us through his story and his journey with Ethan, from Australia all the way back to Yorkshire.

  • Age: 6
  • From: Australia / Kippax
  • Dad: Marc
  • CHD: Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

“My wife Rebecca and I were visiting Cairns, Australia, when we found out the exciting news that we were having our first child.

However, back in the UK at the 12-week scan, they found a problem. Upon further checks, it appeared that our child had a heart problem.

Ethan was born on the 24th of May in 2012. It was apparent in early scans that Ethan had a severe pulmonary valve stenosis.

At four months old, Ethan had a balloon catheter, however, this was unsuccessful. At 5 months old, we met Mr. Jaber at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), who performed open heart surgery on Ethan to open up the valve.

24 hours later, Ethan was taken to surgery again due to complications.

Thankfully, two weeks on we took Ethan home and all seemed to be going well, to the point that we decided to move to Toowoomba in Australia.

Whilst we were in Australia, it became apparent that Ethan would require further surgery and we made a decision to return to the UK and return Ethan to the care of the LGI.

On the 26th March 2018, Ethan was again operated on by Mr. Jaber who replaced his pulmonary valve.

We were able this time to leave the hospital within a week and Ethan is now recovering well at home.

We cannot thank the team at Leeds enough for their care over the last 6 years, and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund for everything that they do for the heart unit and the families.

The charity-funded accommodation in the Brotherton Wing (at the LGI) is fantastic, the equipment they supply is vital and the events Children’s Heart Surgery Fund organise bring us heart families together.

We have started our own support group for families in Kippax and surrounding area’s and have had family meetups, as well as a night out for parents.

#BecauseOfYou, we know we are not alone in our fight against CHD and I feel that we have made lifelong friends.

This really is a special charity that I feel we will always support. Put simply, thank you for everything that you do for us and families like ours!”