Helen was born in 1989 with a congenital heart defect. She lived in Hull with her mum, dad and sister, but would need heart surgery at Killingbeck Hospital in Leeds (over 60 miles away) to save her life.

Heart mum Lesley sent us an amazing story about her daughter Helen, and their experiences of the heart unit and CHSF parent accommodation – back when our charity had only been running for a year!

Lesley said:

“My husband Trevor, our eldest daughter Ruth and I spent a lot of time at Killingbeck Hospital in 1989.


“Our youngest daughter, Helen Sarah was born on 5th April 1989 and was transferred from Hull Royal Infirmary to Killingbeck on 14th June. She needed a TAPVD repair.


“During the time we had to wait for an intensive care bed, I spent some time staying in the nurse’s home or visiting with Trevor and Ruth. We spent time with Helen on the ward in the playroom and in the grounds of the hospital.


“It was very important to be able to spend this time as a family, especially for Helen’s sister Ruth who was only three.

Helen’s whole family were able to stay close by thanks to CHSF-funded accommodation

“…the support we were given at Killingbeck, was second to none. Being able to stay onsite…able to be with Helen as much as we could, made the whole experience much easier to cope with.”

“When Helen had her operation on 28th June, Trevor and I were able to stay in the relative’s house funded by Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and we could visit Helen in intensive care any time of day or night.

Helen’s sister Ruth celebrated her 4th birthday while the family were living at the hospital – the canteen at Killingbeck made her a birthday cake!

“Especially with us living in Hull, this facility was much-appreciated and made a very stressful time much easier to cope with.


“As well as the house we could also use the canteen – the staff were so caring, and food was great. When Ruth spent her 4th birthday visiting Helen, the canteen even made her a cake!


“The care Helen received, and the support we were given at Killingbeck, was second to none – before during and after her operation.


“Being able to stay onsite in both the nurse’s home and the house, and being able to be with Helen as much as we could, made the whole experience much easier to cope with.”

“Helen is now Mrs White and, along with her husband Luke, has two children of her own – Jackson aged three and Remi who is five months.

“She is definitely a Killingbeck success.”

We are incredibly grateful to Lesley, Helen and the whole family for allowing us to tell this story.  It shows how CHSF’s parent accommodation has always been so important to parents in their hour of need.

CHSF was only able to offer this help back in its early days thanks to public donations. Please help us right now to continue giving a vital home-from-home to heart families when they need it most.

Since our charity was founded in 1988, we estmate that around 10,000 families have stayed in CHSF-funded accommodation.

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 like Helen’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!

Fundraiser of the Month: Arthur Lloyd Isle of Man Coast to Coast

Fundraiser of the Month: Arthur Lloyd Isle of Man Coast to Coast

Last month, heart hero Arthur (11) took on the amazing challenge of riding from Coast to Coast across the Isle of Man! 6 years ago, Arthur had open heart surgery at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit (LCHU) and so wanted to raise money for the LCHU's supporting charity,...

A Letter To Our VIP’s (very important parents)

A Letter To Our VIP’s (very important parents)

Dear Very Important Parent,Over the past four years, I have witnessed you taking on so many roles as you have supported your child through hospital admissions. Not only are you ‘Mummy’ or ‘Daddy’, but you are also a caregiver, a nurse, a comfort blanket, countless...

Danny #ScarSelfie

Danny #ScarSelfie

Danny Hirst, 20, was born with a hole in his heart and had it repaired by open heart surgery in Leeds when he was 11. A year later, he had further open heart surgery to replace his aortic heart valve.Danny told us how he feels about his scar, and how life is treating...

Fundraiser of the Month: Jay Higgins and friends

Fundraiser of the Month: Jay Higgins and friends

Jay and his wife Natalie decided when their son George had heart surgery in March that they wanted to fundraise for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.While George was staying on the children’s heart ward, mum Natalie, said... “The longer we spend here the more I notice...

EURO 24 Sweepstake

EURO 24 Sweepstake

Will football be coming home this summer? Or will it be another summer of heartbreak? If you’ve got football fever then this sweepstake is just for you!The countdown to Europe's biggest football tournament of the year has begun. The European Championship, commonly...