Magherafelt girl [6] who has had three open-heart surgeries to star in campaign

Aimee Brady
Aimee Brady
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Most of us have been heartbroken at some time, but not like two local girls whose real-life story of heartbreak features in a new N. Ireland wide awareness campaign.

Magherafelt girl Aimee Brady and Cookstown Girl Grace McKeever are two of seven children who’ll be appearing on billboards, bus stops, buses and social media right across the country over the next few weeks.

The ‘Ever been heartbroken?’ campaign seeks to raise the profile of congenital heart disease, Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect and support for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust’s work across Northern Ireland.

Aimee is just six but she’s already been through open-heart surgery three times. Now she is starring in a new national billboard campaign to raise awareness of congenital heart disease and the work of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust.

Aimee’s heart defect, double inlet left ventricle with pulmonary atresia, was detected before she was born during her 20 week scan.

Just six days after she was born, Aimee underwent surgery in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC). At 18 months she had a second operation, before travelling to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for a third surgery at age 5.

Grace McKeever

Grace McKeever

When Grace was born it was discovered that she had Atrioventricular Septal Defect and a leaking valve in her heart. She immediately underwent surgery in Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC) to repair the defect and undergoes regular monitoring on her heart.

The charity provides family support and information networks, fundraising for vital medical equipment for the Clark Clinic at the RBHSC and counselling services.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Sarah Quinlan, Chief Executive, Children’s Heartbeat Trust said: “Every year 200 babies are born with congenital heart disease which is Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect.

“Like Aimee and Grace, they may have to go through serious operations as small children and learn how to live with complex heart defects. Aimee is one of the seven faces of this campaign, which highlights the very real heartbreak that so many children have to go through every year.

Aimee’s heart defect, double inlet left ventricle with pulmonary atresia, was detected before she was born during her 20 week scan

“The impact of congenital heart disease on families can be huge and we hope that this awareness campaign will allow the Children’s Heartbeat Trust to continue to offer practical and emotional support to these families.”

To find out more visit www.childrensheartbeattrust.org