PARENTS of an 18-month-old baby who only has half a working heart have thanked a nursery for raising money for the hospital where he is being treated.
Ryan Fox, of Marlborough Road, Accrington, suffers from the rare and life-threatening Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which means the blood supply to the left side of his heart is limited.
His mum Kelly, 32, said doctors realised there was a problem at her six-month scan and she added: "It was horrendous to be warned that your baby is going to be ill.
"But when his condition was diagnosed we honestly felt like we had the best doctors in the field explaining what it meant and the type of treatment Ryan would need."
At just four-and-a-half weeks old Ryan underwent an operation at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to correct his condition.
Less than two months later he was rushed back into hospital to have a pacemaker fitted when it was discovered his heart rate had dropped.
Ryan, who still has constant check-ups, will need further operations as he grows older, including open heart surgery at Christmas.
His family, including his big sister Elle, four, have spent many nights by his bedside, staying in hospital accommodation – the Ronald McDonald House – to be close to him.
Kelly said: "The house keeps families together when times are hard. It doesn’t separate siblings from siblings or parents from their children. I don’t know what we would have done without it. It is a godsend."
The accommodation, which offers bedrooms, washing and cooking facilities, is completely self-funded and relies on cash raised by former patients and their families.
Sue Chappell, manager at First Class Child Care Dill Hall on Regent Road, Church, has been following Ryan’s progress because his big sister attends the nursery.
She said: "When Elle first started at nursery I found out about the Ronald McDonald House and had the opportunity to visit it with her dad and another parent.
"I was overwhelmed by the importance of the charity and after learning that it relied on donations I felt the nursery should support it."
Over the past seven months the nursery has held many events including a sponsored swim, a raffle and an end-of-year leavers’ prom, raising a massive £2,000.
The Oaklea Tavern, on Whalley Road, Accrington, has also been collecting money.
Kelly said: "We want to thank the nursery staff and parents for the special prom which really helped to keep Elle’s mind off things on her birthday."
Jan Thomas, director at Ronald McDonald House, said: "Without money raised by events such as this the charity could not continue. This accommodation is absolutely vital as we are always full with families who could not manage without us."