The parents of a little girl born with a rare heart condition are fundraising to thank Evelina London Children’s Hospital for saving her life.
Jenny Fox, 33, and Billy Fox, 38, of Footscray Road, Sidcup, took part in the London Landmarks half marathon to raise money for Evelina London Children’s Charity after their baby daughter, Florence, received treatment at the hospital for a serious heart condition.
Nine-month-old Florence was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called Mixed Mitral Valve Disease when she was nine weeks old.
Mixed Mitral Valve Disease is a very rare condition where the heart’s mitral valve doesn’t work properly, which restricts the flow of blood and puts a strain on the heart.
Florence had life-saving open heart surgery at Evelina London when she was 13 weeks old to replace her mitral valve. She is the smallest patient to undergo the procedure at Evelina London.
Jenny said: “When Florence was born she made a strange squeaky noise whenever she breathed.
“At first I thought it was cute but as time went on it began to concern me. She wasn’t feeding properly so initially the GP thought it was reflux.
“When Florence was four weeks old she got Covid and was admitted to our local hospital.
“One of the doctors who checked her noticed that she had a heart murmur but he didn’t think it was anything serious and I was given a follow up outpatient appointment.
“A few days after her appointment she stopped feeding and after two days of barely drinking any milk I took her to our local hospital. The doctors thought she had a hole in her heart. I was completely floored. I didn’t expect it to be that.”
Florence was transferred to Evelina for specialist care.
Jenny said: “The doctors explained that the reason she wasn’t feeding properly was due to a build-up of fluid on her lungs which made feeding hard work and she was exhausted.
“They said she had chosen to breathe over feeding because she couldn’t do both.
“She needed to have surgery to replace her mitral valve but the doctors were concerned she was too small and they wanted to wait until she put weight on.
“She struggled to gain weight so in the end they went ahead with the surgery while she was still very small.”
Florence underwent the six-hour operation in September 2021.
She spent eight days at Evelina London before being discharged back home to finish recovering.
Jenny said: “The surgery has made a huge difference to Florence’s life. She is a very happy bubbly baby now. She is always babbling away and is hitting all of her milestones.”
Jenny and Billy took part in London Landmarks half marathon earlier this month to raise funds for the Evelina London Children’s Charity.
Jenny said: “I can’t fault the care at Evelina London. Everyone was so knowledgeable and helpful. The nurses were absolutely brilliant.”
You can donate to Jenny and Robert’s fundraiser by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jen-bill
Pictured top: Jenny and Billy with Florence and her sister, Ava.