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Sky's the limit for little Kyla as open heart surgery won't hold her back from chasing dream

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 17/05/2016

A brave little girl who has twice had open heart surgery has spoken of how the condition won't stop her from reaching for the stars and becoming an astronaut.

Kyla McConnell from Belfast has congenital heart disease and has had a pacemaker fitted.

The six-year-old is one of the faces launching a new awareness campaign by the Children's Heartbeat Trust.

She is appearing on billboards across Northern Ireland along with nine-year-old Shay Bradley from Magherafelt - who would love to be a fireman. Although he has undergone open heart surgery three times, Shay won't let anything stop him from following his dream.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of congenital heart disease - Northern Ireland's most common birth defect - and the work of the Children's Heartbeat Trust. Yesterday's launch coincided with the start of the Children's Heartbeat Trust's Heart Week. In the last year it has supported 127 families who have had to travel to England for their child's life-saving surgery.

Children with congenital heart disease often require extra care and attention, particularly after surgery, and the Children's Heartbeat Trust helps support these children and their families.

Children's Heartbeat Trust boss Sarah Quinlan said congenital heart disease affects over 200 families here each year.

She said: "From birth these children have to receive specialist care, which puts extra stress on these families. The Children's Heartbeat Trust's role is to provide support throughout this time to kids just like Kyla and Shay and their families. We are also working towards securing a dedicated children's heart centre in Belfast which would deliver the highest standard of care to all heart children in Northern Ireland before and after their surgery."

To support the campaign text HEARTS to 70660 to donate £5.

Belfast Telegraph

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