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Parents of Bradford heart op girl praise charity
9:00am Saturday 20th October 2012 in News
The parents of a little girl who needed open heart surgery have praised a charity whose help meant they were never more than five minutes away from her during her hospital stay.
Alanya Rejterada was three-years-old when she was diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). The condition means that blood leaks through a hole in the heart, which then has to work harder to pump blood around the body.
Her cardiologist hoped the hole would close on its own, but at a check-up in February 2011 her parents Vicky and Andy Rejterada, of Thornton, Bradford, were told it had got bigger and she needed open heart surgery to repair it.
Mrs Rejterada said: “Although she was relatively symptom free, it was important to have the surgery while she was young to prevent long-term damage to the heart and lungs later in life.”
However, because it was not an emergency, Alanya had to wait more than a year until a last minute cancellation on January 3 meant she was called to Leeds General Infirmary for surgery with just a few hours notice.
“The night before the operation the hospital allowed me to stay with Alanya on the ward, but after this, due to lack of space, we had to find our own accommodation,” said Mrs Rejterada.
“This was when we found out about The Sick Children’s Trust and Eckersley House. We were told about the charity by other parents we met on the ward who were staying there. They gave fantastic reports about the staff and facilities.”
Alanya was in theatre for six hours and afterwards her parents were told the electrical part of her heart was damaged as a result of the surgery.
She had a temporary pacemaker fitted which controlled her heart rate and rhythm, but seven days after her initial surgery she faced a further operation to fit a permanent pacemaker.
“It broke my heart having to explain to her that she needed another operation, but she amazingly just took it all in her stride,” said Mrs Rejterada.
“During the surgery, Eckersley House provided us with some respite. Having the room at the house allowed us to stay just moments away from Alanya. If they wanted us at any time, either because Alanya was unwell or unsettled, we could be on the ward in five minutes. It really was our ‘home from home’.
“We are happy to say that Alanya is really well now. She had seven weeks off school initially, but is now back to full health. She has so much more energy and we struggle to keep up with her.
“I was a very proud mummy when she came first in the 100m sprint at sports day just five months after her open heart surgery, much to everyone's amazement. She will need further surgery in the future, either to replace the pacemaker or remove it if she no longer needs it, and it is wonderful to know we can call on The Sick Children’s Trust’s Eckersley House again when the time comes.”