‘This will make a huge difference to patients’ say family of seven year old who died of hereditary heart condition

Jimmy Dexter.
Jimmy Dexter.

A South Yorkshire family who lost their young son to a hereditary heart condition have raised enough money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital to buy its first electrocardiogram (ECG) machine.

The new machine was made available to patients last week thanks to the family of Jimmy Dexter, who passed away suddenly seven years ago.

Sally, Sean, Joshua and Matthew Dexter.

Sally, Sean, Joshua and Matthew Dexter.

In total, the Dexter family have now raised more than £26,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity, largely through the Jimmy D Memorial Cup, an annual football match and sports auction.

Jimmy’s mum Sally, aged 47, from Woodsetts, said the family just wanted to say ‘thank you’.

She said: “Sheffield Children’s Hospital has helped us over the years to put our minds at ease over our two other sons, by running extensive tests on their hearts.”

“At one of these appointments, I asked why they didn’t have an ECG machine in outpatients.

Sally and Sean Dexter with the new ECG machine.

Sally and Sean Dexter with the new ECG machine.

“They said it would make a huge difference to patients, so we contacted The Children’s Hospital Charity, who told us we could fundraise for the equipment.”

The machine cost close to £6,000 and allows doctors and nurses to detect and treat heart abnormalities by monitoring the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.

Dr Rupa Talekar, consultant paediatrician in cardiology at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said children who needed ECGs previously had to walk to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

She said: “For those children who are in a wheelchair, in pain or those whose carers have medical problems of their own, it can be difficult.”

“The Dexter family have made a huge contribution to help our service, we are very grateful to them and thank them on behalf of the Trust and the children who will benefit from using the ECG.”

The money Jimmy’s family have raised will be split between Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the Embrace transport service, which transferred Jimmy to Sheffield following his sudden collapse.

“Embrace were amazing when we were transferred from Bassetlaw Hospital,” added Sally.

“It was the only way because they had all the specialist equipment in the ambulances.”

Dad Sean, aged 48, who has also taken on the London Marathon to raise funds, added: “We couldn’t have raised all this money without a wonderful set of people behind us and we would like to thank everyone who has helped us with the Jimmy Dexter Memorial Cup and supported us in any way raising the money.”

Jessica Storer, head of fundraising at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “The Dexter family have done so much to help make Sheffield Children’s Hospital even better for the thousands of patients who come from all over the world for our specialist care.

“To raise over £26,000 in Jimmy’s memory is an incredible achievement and we’re really grateful for all of their support.”