Battling heart op girl Chanel defies odds to celebrate third birthday

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Today marks the day Chanel Murrish’s family were told they would never see - as she celebrates her third birthday against all odds.

Like many her age, she loves Disney princesses, holidays with her family and telling her big brothers what to do.

Chanel pictured during her princess experience at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Chanel pictured during her princess experience at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

But every day, the Seaham toddler is battling failing health caused after she was born with only half a working heart.

She became a world record breaker when she was the youngest to undergo life-saving surgery at just minutes old - but her parents were told she might not live to the age of two.

But her latest birthday milestone has seen her make history once again as she becomes the oldest survivor with her condition in the UK.

She has hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart.

I was nervous when it was coming up to her second birthday, because the number was stuck in my head, but now I think she’s going to overcome everything.

Fay Murrish

It means one side of the heart does not form correctly during pregnancy, with an added complication because she had an Intact Atrial Septum, which means part of her heart had to be opened by that first stage of theatre.

She also has cerebral palsy, which affects her movement on one side, as she had a stroke and had struggled to speak after her vocal chords were damaged by being put on a ventilator - she has since wowed everyone by learning to speak and walk within the last few months.

Now, as her family gather to mark her big day with a tea party, they are also preparing for news of her next stage of risky surgery.

Parents Fay, 27, and Micheal, 30, an HGV driver, have been told she needs to undergo what is known as a Fontan procedure, when blood returning to the heart from the lower half of the body is connected directly the blood from the pulmonary arteries to help her circulation system.

Chanel entertained by a princess on a family day out.

Chanel entertained by a princess on a family day out.

But the only long-term option to save her life will be to give her a heart transplant.

Fay, who is also mum to Cole, four, and Chase, seven, said: “We were told when I was pregnant we wouldn’t see her second birthday, and now we’re a year on.

“It’s amazing she’s now three.

“I was nervous when it was coming up to her second birthday, because the number was stuck in my head, but now I think she’s going to overcome everything.

Chanel is given a heart scan as part of a check up.

Chanel is given a heart scan as part of a check up.

“She’s a little madam and loves bossing about her brothers, she’s Disney crazy, absolutely loves princesses and Mickey Mouse.

“But at the back end of last year she started to become poorly and was blue around the mouth and now she looks like she’s wearing purple lipstick.

“She started walking, but sometimes she gets so out of breath she vomits because she can’t breathe.

“She started ballet classes, but we had to stop after one term because it was too much for her.

“But we can’t thank all the families we’ve met enough for their support, we’ve made so many friends.”

Chanel’s specialists Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and her family are fundraising for the Children’s Heart Fund Unit (CHUF).

Chanel Murrish pictired in hospital.

Chanel Murrish pictired in hospital.

More details can be found via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ChanelsCause and her Facebook page at Chanel Murrish HLHS - Chanel’s Cause.

Chanel on the shoulders of dad Micheal Murrish during their family trip to Disneyland.

Chanel on the shoulders of dad Micheal Murrish during their family trip to Disneyland.

Chanel Murrish with mum Fay - with a big ted.

Chanel Murrish with mum Fay - with a big ted.

Chanel Muriish with her brothers.

Chanel Muriish with her brothers.

The Murrish family pictured on holiday.

The Murrish family pictured on holiday.

The Murrish family enjoy a visit by the Coca-Cola truck.

The Murrish family enjoy a visit by the Coca-Cola truck.