Dad runs for cause close to his heart

Simon Openshaw is running the London Marathon for Evalina Children's Heart Organisation, who have supported him and his wife Helen, since their son Samuel (now 13 months old) was born with a heart defect at West Suffolk Hospital. ''Pictured: Simon Openshaw with his family: Izzy (7), Helen and Samuel
Simon Openshaw is running the London Marathon for Evalina Children's Heart Organisation, who have supported him and his wife Helen, since their son Samuel (now 13 months old) was born with a heart defect at West Suffolk Hospital. ''Pictured: Simon Openshaw with his family: Izzy (7), Helen and Samuel
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A FATHER-of-two, whose youngest child was born with a heart defect, will run in the London Marathon to raise money for the charity that has supported his family.

Within 24 hours of being born at West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, Samuel Openshaw, now 13-months-old, was diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis, a serious condition which meant his heart valve was too narrow to function properly.

“It was all complete uncertainty as well as shock and surprise,” said dad Simon, 38, of his son’s diagnosis.

Three hours later, the youngster was transferred to the Evelina Children’s Hospital, in London, where he had life-saving treatment.

Now, despite being home and doing well, he has to take daily medication and will need major heart surgery later in life.

For his parents, who live on Moreton Hall, the support they have received from Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation (Echo), a charity that helps the hospital’s cardiac patients and their families, has been vital.

From encouraging them to build friendships with other families facing similar obstacles to providing them with emotional and psychological support, the couple, who also have a seven-year-old daughter, Izzy, are so grateful that they want to give something back.

Simon, an RAF Regiment officer based at the MoD, hopes to raise £2,500 for Echo by taking part in the London Marathon on April 22.

“Echo will continue to provide us with support, at least until Samuel is 18, and that is a huge source of re-assurance, as well as practical help,” said mum Helen, 36.

To help Simon reach his total, go to www.justgiving.com/running-for-sam