A BRAVE youngster is waiting to undergo a lifesaving heart transplant after spending nine weeks on a specialist ward.

Three-year-old Esa Khan, from Heaton, requires the life-changing operation after he completely stopped eating or drinking after months of illness.

He complained of pain in his body and chest, and was rushed to Leeds Congenital Heart Unit (LCHU) based at Leeds General Infirmary when doctors diagnosed his illness.

He has been treated both on the ward and in intensive care for the past nine weeks and is now facing a gruelling operation to prolong his life.

The family have been supported throughout the ordeal by the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, which recently reached its £500,000 target to build a child's heart theatre.

Esa’s mother, who declined to be named, said: "We have been given accommodation to stay in, which is close to Esa’s ward. That’s been a big help since we live in Bradford.

"I was given room on the first floor, and we have a double room so my husband can also stay with me.

"Esa has been in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) and monitored constantly which is reassuring."

The charity is appealing for donations from kind-hearted members of the public in a bid to keep supporting youngsters like Esa, who desperately need care and support in challenging times.

Esa's mum added: "On top of essential medical equipment and family accommodation, donations provide ward facilities, extra staff, toys and games to make time spent in hospital more bearable.

"Esa has been given a lot of love from all staff (especially the Play Specialists) and there are so many facilities to help his stay comfortable and easier.

"He has been given so many toys to play with and loves to look at the fishes and play on the interactive TV.

"It’s not easy for a three-year-old to stay this long in hospital, but all this support has really helped him stay settled."

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund's (CHSF) Keeping The Beat appeal reached its half a million pounds target after two years of non-stop charity events and donations from across the region.

This revolutionary facility will be used to treat babies and children with congenital heart disease (CHD) by delivering both open heart surgery, and heart procedures by cardiac catheter or keyhole surgery.

Sharon Milner, CHSF's Chief Executive Officer, said: "Thanks to donations, we can offer parent accommodation close to the ward.

"This is a big help to families as they often live a significant distance from Leeds General Infirmary.”

“CHSF also funds medical equipment in Intensive Care and on the Ward, without which the poorliest children wouldn’t survive."

To donate, visit the website at chsf.org.uk/donate or call 0113 831 4810.