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Dad running London marathon in honour of brave daughter who had life-saving heart surgery at 20 days old

The tiny baby was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect when she was born, and needed the surgery to save her life.

Despite facing so many obstacles – Poppy had a second surgery at 18 months old – the little girl is now thriving.

And now, her devoted Dad, Craig, is running the London Marathon next month to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, in honour of his brave daughter.

Craig, 41, from Rutland, recalls those days after Poppy’s diagnosis in November 2011.

He says: ‘Poppy was just so little and my wife, Danielle, and I remember speaking with the surgeon and thinking he had such big hands.

‘How on earth was he going to operate on our daughter? But he was brilliant and finding out the operation had gone well was a huge relief.

‘Without this diagnosis and surgery, Poppy wouldn’t have survived.’

Poppy was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect known as truncus arteriosus.

The condition means a single blood vessel comes out of the heart, instead of the usual two vessels.

Poppy’s pulmonary artery had failed to separate from her aorta in the womb which meant oxygen-poor blood and oxygen-rich blood are mixed in her heart.

As a result, too much blood was going to her lungs and her heart was working harder to pump blood around the rest of her body. 

Source of data and images: metro

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