Fundraiser of the Month: Dave Wilson

At Children’s Heart Surgery Fund we are so incredibly lucky to have so many fantastic supporters all out there fundraising for us and flying the flag for our charity. To recognise all your amazing hard work, each month we like to pick a Fundraiser of the Month. Here we are in June – everybody meet Dave Wilson!

Dave and Jayne’s daughter Alexa was born in 1999 with Down syndrome, cataracts and when she was a week old, was diagnosed with an AVSD.

Alexa’s mum Jayne tell us a bit more about her daughter’s story…

Alexa’s cardiologist, Dr Parsons, advised us that she would require open heart surgery. At 8 weeks old Alexa became very unwell and was transferred to the LGI.

This was a very scary time for us and we had to leave our other two children, age 3 and 6 with grandparents.

I was thankfully given a room in the hospital that allowed me to stay close by, whilst Dave travelled to and from our home in Scunthorpe.

Alexa’s surgery was complicated and her recovery was slow. During this time, we were in awe of the dedication and skill of Miss Carin Van Doorn and the surgical team, nurses and support staff.

We felt that she was in the best of hands at all times and our needs, as her parents, were considered throughout. Alexa returned home but still had a leaky valve so we knew that she would require further surgery at some point.

With the very great care of her cardiologists, Dr Parsons and Dr Gibbs she remained well until the age of nine when she was again transferred to the LGI for a mitral valve replacement.

Unfortunately, this time, her heart was enlarged and the surgery and subsequent pacemarker insertion did not lead to recovery.

She was then transferred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, while still ventilated, in order to be placed on the heart transplant register. Alexa received a Berlin Heart device under their care but sadly suffered a stroke before a heart was found. She passed away a month before her 10th birthday.

The death of our beautiful, brave little girl was utterly devastating but without the incredible work of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and the team at the LGI, we would not have had the joy of those wonderful years together.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund helped support Alexa’s treatment and assisted us in coping with this and our time away from the rest of our family. We wanted to be able to give something back as a symbol of our gratitude and to ensure that your great work continues.

Dave Wilson is our Fundraiser of the Month and he has organised an annual charity ball for nine years which altogether has raised an incredible amount for CHSF.

Dave tell us a bit more about other fundraising his family have done…

As well as the charity balls, we have held a golf day at Forest Pines which raised £1000. My son, Charlie held a football match, sold tickets etc and raised £500 which was brilliant – all at just 15 years old!

We asked Dave if there was any advice he would give to other fundraisers…

“My advice is to engage family and friends in an activity that they would enjoy, in order to raise money.

We live in difficult economic times and businesses have limited funds to make donations to fundraising initiatives.

Letters asking for support need to be very carefully worded. It is important that we highlight the fact that all children in our area who suffer cardiac defects will be treated at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit and therefore it is so important that we all support Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Thank you CHSF for all the fantastic work you do!

Are you feeling inspired? If you think you or an organisation you are part of could raise money for CHSF get in touch with Lisa Williams on lisa.williams@chsf.org.uk 0113 831 4810 for more info!

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