The Sunderland boy with two holes in his heart

17 month old Leo Makin with his mum Lauren Howat (22) Picture: DAVID WOOD
17 month old Leo Makin with his mum Lauren Howat (22) Picture: DAVID WOOD
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A boy who was born with two ‘giant’ holes in his heart is well on the road to recovery after life-saving open heart surgery.

Little Leo Makin, from Sunderland, went under the knife in March after the problem had gone undetected for the first year of his life.

Family photo of Leo Makin during his treatment Picture: DAVID WOOD

Family photo of Leo Makin during his treatment Picture: DAVID WOOD

During the pregnancy of mum Lauren Howat, 22, doctors were worried by extra fluid on the baby’s brain, but an MRI scan reassured the family there were no major issues.

When Leo was born, he was found to have a heart murmur, which was thought to have gone by the time he had left hospital.

He continued to undergo regular check-ups for his brain, but it wasn’t until a final consultation, with Leo now a year old, that the holes in the heart were found.

Mum Lauren said: “He hadn’t been drinking much milk and would sweat uncontrollably, so I asked the doctors to do a check.

Leo had been lucky to avoid becoming more seriously ill when he had lived for a year with that condition

Lauren Howat

“They listened to his heart and said he had a heart murmur, before sending him for a scan, which revealed the holes.

Leo was swiftly taken to the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, where the open heart surgery was carried out.

The operation damaged his throat due to the breathing tubes, but that problem has since been rectified.

Now aged 17 months, the little fighter, whose dad is Daniel Makin, 25, is doing ‘absolutely fine’, and a fundraiser is set to be held this weekend. It will take place tomorrow from 11.30pm at Pennywell Comrades Club, on Hylton Bank, Sunderland, and the money raised will go towards the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, as well as Scott House, where parents of children who have undergone life-saving surgery can stay while they recover.

17 month old Leo Makin with his mum Lauren Howat (22) Picture: DAVID WOOD

17 month old Leo Makin with his mum Lauren Howat (22) Picture: DAVID WOOD

At the fundraiser, there will be a bouncy castle, tombolas, refreshments and entertainment, and mum Lauren just wants to ‘give something back’. She added: “The doctors at the Freeman were fantastic, and said Leo had been lucky to avoid becoming more seriously ill when he had lived for a year with that condition.

“It was a terrible time, but we can’t fault the Freeman at all. When they took him in for surgery, they were initially going to leave one of the holes, as because he had had them all his life, they said his body would get a shock. When they went in, though, they were too big to leave, and they were gobsmacked at how big they were.

“They covered them both, and just left a little hole in one of them.

“They saved him, and Leo is doing absolutely fine now. I just want to give something back, which is why we’re holding the fundraiser.

Family photo of Leo Makin during his treatment Picture: DAVID WOOD

Family photo of Leo Makin during his treatment Picture: DAVID WOOD

“We’re also raising money for Scott House, which is a little house on the side of the Freeman where you can stay, which ensured I never had to come home and leave Leo there.”