A BRADFORD mum has spoken of the ordeal of her newborn baby having heart surgery.

Having a baby in lockdown is challenging in itself, but for Jenni and Kieran Jackson it was followed by the devastating news that their baby, Vinnie, had a hole in his heart. Now, after surgery, Vinnie is “doing brilliantly” says proud mum Jenni. And when she began to raise funds for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which supports youngsters born with heart disease, Westfield Nursery in Idle was inspired to raise a further £5,000.

Vinnie was born at Bradford Royal Infirmary on November 2. At his six-week post natal check-up it was discovered he had a heart murmur. “He had a scan at the BRI and we were told he had a hole in his heart and would need surgery,” said Jenni, of Idle. “It was a big shock but we thought it would be okay. Then he had a more in-depth scan at Leeds General Infirmary and was diagnosed with Tetralogoy of Fallot, which affects blood flow through the heart. His breathing was quite fast and his tummy was tucking in. and they saw that the hole in his heart was quite large.

“We just got a phone call to say he was going to have heart surgery. To be told at 14 weeks that your baby needs an operation - I was really scared at first but it all happened so quickly. We were worried that with the bigger hole in his heart he might catch something over winter, putting pressure on his lungs.”

Vinnie was 16-weeks-old when he had five-hour surgery at the LGI. “Because of Covid restrictions only I was allowed in with him,” said Jenni. “My husband Kieran had to FaceTime us. When Vinnie came out of surgery we saw him one at a time. He was in the ICU for four nights and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund gave us a room to stay in. He was then moved to a high dependency ward for 11 days. There were a few complications after the operation, he had a blood disorder and had to be monitored, but he’s doing brilliantly now. The LGI was fantastic, we’ll be forever grateful.”

Jenni raised £1,689 from donations which caught the attention of Westfield Nursery, where her older son, three-year-old Archie, goes. Owners Emma Pearson and Rebecca Wilson said: “All our children and staff got involved in our sponsored event; the youngest children did singing and dancing with musical instruments and the older ones did a sponsored run or jump outdoors. They had so much fun and learnt why it’s important to look after our hearts. We’ve been amazed at the generosity of our families. It has been wonderful to raise money for a charity so close to home and hopefully make a difference to families like the Jacksons.”

* To make a donation go to chsf.org.uk/donate/