CHARLIE Kellaway may look like any other nine-year-old boy with big eyes and cheeky grin – but he lives every day with a rare heart condition.
He was diagnosed at birth with Congenitally Corrected Trans-position of the Great Arteries, which can cause problems because of leaky heart valves, abnormal electrical conduction in the heart or the inability to get blood pumping through to the entire body.
Abnormal electrical conduction could cause Charlie’s heart to be at risk of a condition called Heart Block – which can cause light headedness, fainting and palpitations.
His mum Linda, who works at Tatworth Primary School, which Charlie attends, said: “Thankfully he has no sign of this as yet, of which I am immensely grateful.”
But Linda has launched a fundraising campaign to buy the school a defibrillator – a life-saving machine used in the event of someone having a heart attack.
“One defibrillator device costs around £2,000,” she said. “If I could get one for the school, it would give me huge peace of mind, not just for Charlie, but for all the pupils, staff and visitors, as well as the local community.”
Linda added: “In the future I would like to continue the fundraising in the hope that I can raise enough to get the machines for other schools in the area.
“I will be involved in and also organising lots of events over the next few months, so this is just a warning to people that I will be bugging them for donations!”
Linda is working with the Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome group, better known as SADS UK, which seeks to raise awareness of cardiac risk in the young through to middle age.
“SADS UK provides information to show that it’s not just a child with a diagnosed medical condition that can benefit from the portable defibrillators,” she said. “In the past they have saved the lives of other children and also staff members.”
The group has petitioned for all schools to have a defibrillator on their premises.
Anyone who wants to make a donation to Linda’s fundraising can do so at www.justgiving.com/|linda-kellaway or JustTextGiving by Vodafone sponsor me by texting DFIB65 £5 to 70070, or by sending a cheque to Tatworth Primary School, School Lane, Tatworth, Chard TA20 2RX, payable to SADS UK. Linda has a Facebook page at Linda Kellaway Defibrillator Fundraising and her progress can be followed on Twitter @ LK|Defib.