Sunderland heart surgery girl battling on

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SHE was born with a rare condition and needed open heart surgery at just seven weeks old.

But Layla Grace Elaine Davis, from Hall Farm, is battling through with the help of North East medics, to the delight and gratitude of her doting family.

Her dad Steve, a customer service advisor at Royal Mail, said: “Layla Grace was born with a condition which restricts blood flow to her heart and her heart also struggles to pump enough blood around her body.

“We’ve been told her condition is not something that can be fixed.

“The next operation she will have is to replace a valve in her heart.”

Four-month-old Layla Grace has been cared for at the Freeman Hospital.

Tomorrow, Steve and his colleagues will take on a team from EDF Energy’s Sunderland call centre in a charity football match, at Farringdon Community Sports College, at 2.30pm.

The game will raise much-needed funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman.

“The Freeman Hospital have been fantastic,” said Steve, 29.

“It’s really opened my eyes being there and seeing the amazing care that they give.

“My wife Amanda and I are so grateful for the care and support they provide.

“I am really glad to be able to give something back to them by fund-raising for their Children’s Heart Unit Fund.”

Amanda, 29, who is a full-time mum to Layla Grace and the couple’s older children, Makenzie, nine, and Mia, four, added: “The unit is lovely.

“They are not like doctors and nurses. They are like friends and family. They treat everyone with respect.

“They don’t just look after Layla. They look after us as well.”

This is the second year the two groups of colleagues have come together in a charity football game for causes close to their hearts.

They are hoping to match last year’s total of £4,000.

John Pearson-Grainger, team manager at EDF Energy’s Doxford Business Park customer services centre, said: “The match last year was organised to raise funds for Macmillan.

“It’s a charity that provides vital services for those living with cancer.

“We raised money on behalf of Clarke Sanderson, who works at Royal Mail and played in last year’s match.

“His mother Louise was being treated for breast cancer and was receiving care from Macmillan. Thankfully, she’s doing great now and is in remission.”

Seaham ice cream parlour Lickety Split will set up stall on the day to keep players and supporters cool, with proceeds being split between the two charities.

A collection will also be made on the day for any spectators wanting to make a donation.

Twitter: @janethejourno