RELATIVES of a girl who had open heart surgery when she was just four days old jumped out of a plane to raise money in her honour. 

Sophia Taylor was born on May 10, 2020, and, after being transferred from Airedale General Hospital to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), doctors found she needed open heart surgery.

She remained on a ventilator for eight weeks after her 13-hour-long surgery and was then diagnosed with DIGeorge Syndrome - a condition that can cause a range of life-long problems, including heart defects and learning difficulties.

After the first three months of her life spent in hospital, Sophia was allowed to go home in Cullingworth with her parents, Charlotte and Russell Taylor, and her older brother Joshua.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sophia with her mum Charlotte, dad Russell and her big brother Joshua Sophia with her mum Charlotte, dad Russell and her big brother Joshua (Image: Charlotte Taylor)

Since she returned home in August 2021, Sophia has had a host of regular appointments but is able to eat food orally after initially being fitted with a tube to aid feeding.

Sophie's family now raises money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, which supports children and adults born with congenital heart defects in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. The charity works with the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at LGI. 

On October 2, Sophia's grandfather, Mark Whitaker, and her uncle, Justin George, tackled a skydive at Hibaldstow Airfield in North Lincolnshire - raising a remarkable £4,000 for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund.

Mark said: "I wanted to do the skydive to raise money in honour of Sophia, our amazing heart warrior granddaughter.

"I enquired and found out I needed to lose six stone to be able to go ahead.

"So the diet began along with the fundraising.

"We originally had it booked for August but the great British weather had other ideas and it finally went ahead in October.

"It was so worth it - the skydive was a huge buzz, I've lost six stone and we raised £4,000 for the charity which has helped our family so much."

Justin added: "It was an amazing feeling to be able to complete a charity skydive and raise so much money for a fantastic cause.

"Jumping out of a plane was really scary but nowhere near as scary as what Sophia and others have been through.

"Our brave little princess Sophia is so strong and brave and I love the fact we have been able to support the Children's Heart Surgery Fund to help other families who really need it." 

Charlotte, Sophie's mum, praised Mark and Justin and thanked them for their daredevil, charitable antics.