Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) are asking for donations over Ramadan to help local Muslim babies born with heart disease.

The charity support the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital with everything from the medical equipment which saves young patients, to accommodation for their concerned parents.

Almost 1 in 100 babies in the UK are born with congenital heart disease (CHD), and in Yorkshire, around 18% of all young patients are from the South Asian population.

More than 40% of the children who have an operation will need long-term care, and each year over 17,000 patients of all ages are treated at the heart unit.

CHSF relies completely on public donations and like so many charities, the pandemic has reduced vital income.

Last year, up to 200 young patients from the South Asian community were treated at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, and four-year-old Alayna’s mum, Sameeda, says CHSF’s support is a lifeline.

She said: “CHSF have been amazing – they provided accommodation while Alayna was being treated in Paediatric Intensive Care and the High Dependency Unit.

“My room was within the hospital building which was a relief as I could go to Alayna at any time.”

“Alayna was born with multiple life-threatening heart conditions and had her first operation at just 8 months – the Glenn Shunt.

“This procedure improves the flow of blood to the lungs in complex conditions where only one ventricle is working properly.

“Although this was a success, the doctors knew she would need a more complicated surgery when she was older.”

Alayna with her mum Sameeda

Alayna, now four-years-old and had the Fontan procedure earlier this year, which was a much more invasive open heart surgery.

Again, clinicians were pleased with the results and now Alayna is back home in time to celebrate Eid with her family.

She will need to be monitored into adulthood, but Sameeda says treatment and support has continued away from the hospital: “Alayna will be on Warfarin for the rest of her life, but her blood thickness can be tested at home with the help of an INR kit, provided by CHSF.”

“The INR kit is great as it means we can send test results back to the hospital from home, and it is much quicker and easier for our family.”

“We can’t thank CHSF and the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit enough for everything they do. Please donate if you can to help future children like Alayna.”

CHSF CEO Sharon Milner

Sharon Milner is approaching 15 years as CEO of CHSF, and has no doubt as to the reasons for the charity’s longevity.

“We owe everything to both the skill and passion of the staff at Leeds Congenital Heart Unit – a world-class centre of excellence, and the incredible fundraising of local supporters for over 30 years.”

“Please help us to continue saving local children like Alayna and support NHS staff in the wake of this pandemic.”

“All donations will fund revolutionary equipment, ground-breaking research and help keep our region’s families together. Thank you.”

CHSF Ambassador Dr Hanif Malik OBE


Hanif Malik, CHSF ambassador added: “Ramadan is not only a month of fasting but one of charity. Every year the Muslim community donates tens of millions of pounds to worthy causes around the world.”

“This year we are asking our fellow Muslims to consider donating a small amount of sadaqah to local causes such as CHSF which carries out life-saving and life-changing work in the Yorkshire area.“

“Your donation can make all the difference to seriously ill children in our region.”

Established in 1988, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) is a charity providing support for babies, children, teenagers and adults born with Congenital Heart Defects.

To donate to Children’s Heart Surgery Fund over Ramadan and Eid, simply visit chsf.org.uk/ramadan.

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