A brave three-year-old girl and her family are on a mission to put a defibrillator in every school in Sheffield – after she was diagnosed with a heart condition.
Heidi Mellor was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, a rare heart condition, aged just 11 weeks old.
Common symptoms include blackouts or seizures caused by interruptions to the heart’s rhythm.
The condition is genetic and Heidi’s father has also been diagnosed with the complaint after family members died suddenly.
Symptoms can start at any age and are triggered by stress or sudden noise.
Heidi has had surgery to have a cardiac loop recorder fitted and must take medication every day to help keep her heart rhythm regular.
Mum Sammy Mellor, 30, said: “I was devastated when she was diagnosed. It was a shock as her sister doesn’t have it so we thought Heidi would be fine too.
“It’s more difficult now she has started at pre-school as I have less control and she wants to do more.
“To look at her you wouldn’t know anything was wrong. She a happy, independent little girl who loves dinosaurs and pirates and she’s brave.”
Sammy, along with her mother Hazel Smith, 57, sister Stacey Smith, 34, and friend Lisa Price, 34, started Heidi’s Heart campaign with charity Hand on Heart.
The charity donated a defibrillator to Heidi’s school Gorseybrigg Primary School in Dronfield, which inspired them to try to get one installed in as many schools as possible in Sheffield.
The women have raised more than £2,000 through coffee mornings and raffles and are holding a fun day in June.
They have also just raised enough cash to have a defibrillator installed at William Levick Primary School.
Each defibrillator costs around £1,00 to install and Hand on heart also train eight teachers and one class of children to use the life-saving equipment.
Sammy said: “We thought we would carry on as we want to make Dronfield heart safe and we plan to expand city-wide.
“We’ve already helped two schools and we’re part way to a third. We’ve not used Heidi’s and we hope we never have to.
“It is not just for Heidi, it is for everyone. There’s a 77 per cent survival rate from a heart attack if you get to a defibrillator in the first few minutes. It will save lives. If we can help just one person it is worth it.”
n To donate visit www.justgiving.com/heidis-heart