My daughter wouldn’t be here today without you

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A MUM is aiming to raise money for hospital staff to thank them for saving her daughter’s life.

Ella-Mae Linney was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect, called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, just five days after her birth and forced to undergo open-heart surgery.

The left ventricle of Ella-Mae’s heart was severely underdeveloped, so without the operation in March 2010, she would have died.

Now her mum, Gemma Walker, of Fenwick Drive in Blyth, is raising money for the hospital unit that cared for her tot, two next month, and kept her alive.

“The care and support Ella-Mae and myself received from ward 23 during her time at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle was amazing, and I wanted to give something back to those who had saved her life,” said Gemma.

“At the moment, she is doing really well. To look at her now, you wouldn’t know she was so poorly, and she has been off her feeding tube for seven months.

“We are waiting for her to have her third round of open-heart surgery now, but we know that, at some point, she will need a transplant. It’s just a case of when.”

Gemma is now raising funds for the Freeman Hospital and Little Hearts Matter, a Birmingham-based charity set up to raise awareness of childhood heart conditions and offer support and advice to those affected by them.

To show her gratitude to the hospital and charity, Gemma is holding a fundraising night on Friday, February 17, at Blyth United Services Club.

“I really want to raise awareness of what the Freeman Hospital children’s heart unit means to us, and how important it is in Ella-Mae’s life and always will be. This is our way of saying thank you.”

The event at the Bowes Street club will feature a live band, sponsored chest and leg waxes, a raffle and bingo.

Tickets, priced £3, are available by calling Gemma on 0785 167 4870.