Olly is 9 years old and he had open heart surgery at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit this year.

On 4th February this year, Olly was admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties. He didn’t come home for 48 days.

Many of those days were spent in an induced coma, on a ventilator in Leeds Children’s Hospital PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit) – Olly was suffering from heart failure.

Olly’s mum Helen told us a bit more about his condition…

“A defective mitral valve, likely congenital, meant Olly needed open heart surgery to fit a mechanical replacement valve. The surgeon in Leeds performed this procedure just under a month after Olly was admitted, on 1st March.


“Following his operation Olly’s condition improved. However, the 3 weeks spent in PICU before surgery meant his muscle mass was significantly depleted and he had become dependent on the sedatives required when he was ventilated.


“This meant a long weaning plan and lengthy rehabilitation post-surgery.


“Having always been an active child that showed no signs of any issues, the speed at which Olly deteriorated was a huge shock to us all.”

Olly’s mum, dad and brother Robert stayed in CHSF-funded accommodation at the hospital. Having family so close by for the 48 days he was in hospital really help Olly to recover.

During this time, Olly’s mum, dad and brother Robert were able to stay in CHSF-funded family accommodation as they live nearly an hour away from Leeds. This meant Olly had his whole family close by while he recovered in hospital.

Olly is now home and as well as completing his own fundraiser for CHSF earlier this year (just four months after his surgery!), he has also been helping us to promote our Christmas Campaign for 2023, ‘Stay Another Day.

Olly writes:

Hello I’m Olly and I’m 9.


I was in hospital in Leeds for 48 days with heart failure this year, I needed to have heart surgery, which was scary for me.


We live in Addingham, which is nearly an hour from Leeds. My mummy and daddy were able to be near me because they could stay in Leeds. The room they got even meant my brother, Robert, could stay too. Seeing them all the time really helped me get better.

Since I got home, I have raised money to give back to charity to thank them for their help. Please can you give money to charity this Christmas? They can make sure other mummies and daddies are near their poorly children when they need them most.


Thank you, Olly
P.S. Merry Christmas!

Since our charity was founded in 1988, around 10,000 families have stayed in CHSF-funded accommodation at the hospital.

13 babies are diagnosed with congenital heart disease in the UK every day. This year alone we have supported double the families that we did in 2022.

We need to raise at least £10,000 every year to fund CHSF accommodation.

Please donate what you can to help us reach our goal and ensure heart families just like Olly’s can #StayAnotherDay.

If you can go the extra mile (so heart parents don’t have to), please consider setting up a regular gift to CHSF to enable more families to #StayAnotherDay throughout the year!

Set up a direct debit to CHSF…


Have a festive flutter on the 2023 Christmas Raffle, or maybe you could buy a pack of Xmas cards. Want a challenge? You can Step Into Christmas by walking a marathon in December, or Jingle All the Way to 5K with Team CHSF!

The most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us again. Can you help us be there for heart warriors all year round?

Visit our Christmas page to see more ways you can support CHSF this festive season!

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