A YOUNG South Yorkshire family is campaigning to raise awareness of congenital heart defects in infants, after their baby boy was born with a hole in the heart.
Mum Cassie Symms, aged 28, had never heard of congenital heart defects before her son Zander Jak was born last July.
But when he was just 19 days old she and husband Daniel, a 25-year-old electrician, were distraught to discover their tiny son had a hole in his heart.
Doctors told them Zander would need open heart surgery before his first birthday if he was going to survive to adulthood.
But they said it was lucky the defect had even been spotted.
Cassie lives with Daniel and two-year-old daughter Avril on Clarence Street, Dinnington.
She is now campaigning to increase scanning for heart defects during pregnancy and at birth.
She said: “Since he was born I have met hundreds of mums who have children with congenital heart problems.
“Some haven’t found out about the problems until their children are much older – which can be dangerous.”
Cassie has to monitor Zander very closely to watch for signs of trouble.
“We have to watch his breathing and his colour, even when he is asleep.
“I had hoped my second baby would be easier but it can be exhausting.
“He gets very tired and is never awake for more than two hours at a time.
“But at least we know what to look out for.”
Cassie is campaigning with hundreds of other families to raise awareness and research funding during Congenital Heart Defects Week, from February 7 to 14.