LITTLE fighter Samuel Davy has defied the odds to celebrate his first Christmas after been born with only half a heart.
The parents of the nine-month-old – who was given just a 10 per cent chance of surviving his first major surgery as a newborn – never dared to dream he would survive this far.
But plucky Samuel has battled through two open heart operations to experience all the joy of Christmas for the first time.
Proud mum Rachel Davy, of Greenacre Close, Gleadless Townend, said: “It’s probably only been the last month or two we’ve felt like a normal family – this is a very special Christmas.
“It’s not about presents though, it’s about being together.
“When Samuel was born we couldn’t even think about Christmas, we just wanted to get him home.
“It’s amazing that we’ve got here when you think they said he had a 10 per cent chance if they did the first operation.”
Samuel was born with the rare hyperplastic left heart syndrome – where parts of the heart do not develop completely.
Scans spotted a heart defect while Rachel, 27, was pregnant and doctors arranged for her to give birth at Leeds General Hospital, which has a specialist child heart unit.
Just three days afterwards she and husband Richard were told Samuel was unlikely to survive the first of three major operations he needed to reconstruct the organ.
He pulled through the surgery at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London – also battling a potentially fatal blood clot and E coli complication – and has now recovered from a second.
Rachel added: “Now it’s just about keeping him well until his third surgery and thankfully this stage isn’t as critical.
“Any slight sign of him being unwell had us straight up to A&E and it was very stressful.
“Samuel had quite a tough time after the first surgery but for the second he was in and home in just six days.”
Samuel now needs a third operation when he reaches two and will hopefully make adulthood before he requires a full heart transplant.
Rachel – who held a patients’ party to raise cash to fight the closure of The Children’s Heart Unit in Leeds – said: “We don’t know how long this is going to be for, how long Samuel can last on half a heart.
“The doctors say it is an uncertain future but at least he is here and has a childhood.
“We just feel very lucky to have the best doctors and the best outcome for Samuel.
“People look at us and feel sorry for us but we absolutely do feel blessed that we’ve got him, he has changed so many people’s lives.”
* Rachel and Richard are completing a shark dive for the heart unit. Visit www.justgiving.com/sharkdiveforsam to donate.