Bronagh (2) faces major heart surgery

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A TODDLER from Finnis will undergo major surgery in Dublin next week to try and fix one of the three holes she has had in her heart since birth.

Little Bronagh Gibson (2) has had to go through so much already in her short life.

Bronagh was born in September 2009 at Lagan Valley Hospital but it was not until she was due to be discharged, when her mother, Donna, voiced concerns that the baby had not cried for four days, that there were found to be holes in her heart

Bronagh was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital but that was quickly followed by transfer to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin because Northern Ireland’s sole paediatric cardiac surgeon was on holiday.

Donna says that Bronagh is in good spirits ahead of the operation. “She’s been doing well recently although this is a big operation. It’s life threatening,” she admitted.

“She is going for open heart surgery. There’s quite a big hole at the bottom of her heart in a difficult place to reach.

“Unfortunately it’s too big to fix and at the moment it’s being held together by an elastic band, but they are going to try and put a plug in.”

Sadly the family’s troubles took another turn last week when Donna had a miscarriage, something she puts down to the stress of everything that’s going on.

The family have been supported by the Children’s Heartbeat Trust and to that end they have been fundraising for the charity to thank them.

“We held a charity night and raffle in St Michael’s Hall in Finnis recently and raised £2,248 for the trust,” she said.

“They helped us out when we needed it most; they were there for us when we had to get Bronagh to Dublin for the first operation so this is just our way of saying thank-you.”

Bronagh’s grandparents Danny and Doris Flynn spearheaded the St. Michael’s function and thanked everyone who gave so generously, whether by providing the entertainment on the night. buying tickets or making donations.

There were thanks too for the car-park attendants, bar staff, kitchen staff and all who worked so tirelessly behind the scenes.

Special thanks went to those who donated raffle prizes, among them businesses in Dromara, Castlewellan and Newcastle; also to Eugene McCann of EMC Properties, Dromara GFC, Claragh Bridge Vintage Club and Bronagh’s aunt Christina, who organised an associated charity walk in Galway, “which raised quite a bit of money”, said Donna, adding, “we have more events in the pipeline but that’s all on hold at the moment.”

For now relatives are focused on Bronagh’s upcoming surgery and their hopes that everything goes well next Monday.