A little Lisburn boy is starring in a new national billboard campaign to raise awareness of congenital heart disease and the work of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust.
Cameron Kerr, who will be two in June, from Pond Park is just one of seven children taking part in the ‘Ever Been Heartbroken’ a Northern Ireland wide awareness campaign for the charity.
Cameron suffers from Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries, and has already been through open-heart surgery twice.
His heart defects which affect the Hypoplastic Right Ventricle, Tricuspid atresia, large VSD and 2:1 heart block, were detected during his 20 week scan.
When he was born at the Royal, in June 2013 parents Debby and Victor were only able to hold him for a minute before he was taken to the special baby care unit where he remained before he was transferred to the Evelina Children’s Hospital, in London and underwent three surgeries.
“As the first procedure did not go very well and unfortunately created further damage to Cameron’s heart,” said mum Debby. “It was a worrying time for us all. The balloon was stuck in his heart and it created two clots.”
A few weeks later, he had to go through the first major open heart surgery which thankfully was a lot more successful and he also had a pacemaker fitted.
He was four months before he returned back home for his first overnight stay. The Kerr family were told that in time he will need further open heart surgery when he is three and may in time also need a transplant.
“Despite what he has gone through he is a great boy,” said Debby. “Just a typical lively boy who is just full of life and full of fun. He is still not sure of his limitations.
“He needs to be careful as he will run around and when he starts to cough it means that he needs to rest, which sometimes he does not realise that he has to be. He also needs to watch his pacemaker and because he is on aspirin which thins his blood he needs to be careful he does not get cut.”
The campaign seeks to raise the profile of congenital heart disease, Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect and support for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust’s work across Northern Ireland.
Sarah Quinlan, Chief Executive, Children’s Heartbeat Trust said: “Every year 200 babies are born with congenital heart disease which is NI’s most common birth defect. Like Cameron, they may have to go through serious operations as small children and learn how to live with complex heart defects.”
To find out more log onto the website on www.childrensheartbeattrust.org