A baby girl is living with a rare and incurable condition that forces her to live each day with just half a working heart.
Lucia Grace Pollard had already been through two major heart operations by the age of eight months old in order to give her the chance for a good quality of life.
But there are no known survivors past the age of 40 of the heart defect Double Inlet Left Ventricle, which affects five in 100,000 people.
Despite this reality, Lucia’s parents Fiona and James Pollard, of High Street South, Stewkley, say they knew they couldn’t give up on their ‘special’ baby after finding out the devastating news during a routine scan.
Fiona said: “When they realised something was wrong, and you remember these kinds of moments, they told us that our baby had a very serious heart problem. And when she said that I just automatically thought we were going to lose her.
“I turned to my mum and said whatever happens I am keeping this baby. I do not care how long she is going to survive, but I am keeping her.
“Some people might not be able to handle the uncertainty of the future, and I wouldn’t judge anyone on that, but for me, I was 23 weeks when I had to make the decision. At that time I could feel her moving inside me, kicking, and I could not give her up.
“Lucia’s condition isn’t genetic or anything like that; it was a complete fluke and is very rare, which makes her really special.
“We were told she won’t be a ballerina or a professional footballer, but when she gets older she may be able to join in during P.E. and play games.
Paul Kilby, of Faulkner’s Way, will trek across the North of England from St Bees Head in Cumbria to Robin Hoods Bay in North Yorkshire on Lucia’s first birthday of April 22.
Paul, 60, whose daughter Emma is godmother to Lucia, said: “Fiona and James have been wonderfully supported both during the pregnancy and since Lucia was born by LHM, which is the only charity in the UK which supports families with children with a single ventricle condition.
“They both felt very alone and frightened following diagnosis and LHM have been there from day one, offering advice and reassurance and putting them in touch with other families in the same situation.
“With a relatively modest income, donations are of critical importance to LHM and I am delighted to be supporting this wonderful charity on my walk and to say that I have raised near £1,700 so far.”
> To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Paul-Kilby1 or for more information on LHM see www.lhm.org.uk