It’s the start of a new year! Are you thinking of fundraising for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund? If you need some inspiration, read on to find out about the fundraising efforts of one of our fantastic supporters.

Alison Austin is Mum to Darcie, born on the 12th of October at a healthy 9lb 2oz. Alison told us:

We thought we had a healthy but chilled out baby girl. Eight days later, our world was turned upside down.

Darcie’s family noticed she had irregular breathing. They were sent to Chesterfield Royal Hospital where everything changed.

She had a narrowing of her aorta and it was thought that a valve in her heart may close shortly after birth.

Darcie survived as the valve remained open. She had to be taken to a neonatal unit and put on drugs to ensure her valve remained open whilst she waited for a specialist ambulance to bring her to Leeds General Infirmary. Alison recalls:

We had a very poorly baby. Darcie needed surgery but she had an infection so they delayed the surgery until she was strong enough.

A week later (28th October) she had open heart surgery, at 16 days old. There were many ups and downs during that period but we had a fighter.

Alison, whilst in the hospital knew she wanted to do some fundraising for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, discovering the charity funded vital equipment that helped Darcie during her time in intensive care and on the ward.

The care we received in Leeds was absolutely amazing and we want to give something back to this charity to help other babies and children like Darcie.

Darcie’s Dinner was held at Baldwins Omega in Sheffield on the 28th of October – exactly a year to the date of Darcie’s surgery. Thanks to Alison’s and her family and friends efforts, all the tables were filled with over 200 guests attending.

They held an auction, a silent auction, and a raffle – and the auction alone raised £6,000!

Alison had managed to secure some fantastic items to auction including a week in Spain, VIP tickets to a football match, signed sports gear, a luxury one-night stay in a Leeds hotel and a Blue John pendant made exclusively for the dinner by a family member.

It was a fantastic evening where people enjoyed excellent food, wine and good company.

Alison didn’t stop there! She also ran the Chatsworth 10k raising about £1,500 and a Jazz night at the school she works in, raising £500.

We hope Alison and Darcie’s story inspires you to organise your own event. If you’d like to get involved with CHSF, visit our fundraising pages to find out more.