Little girl born with half a heart urges shielding families to 'stay safe' with video message

The mum of a girl who had heart surgery when she was just one-minute-old has put together a video to bring together families just like theirs.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 3:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th April 2020, 10:32 am

Six-year-old Chanel Murrish underwent life-saving open-heart surgery when she was born with just half a working heart.

Little Chanel was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left heart Syndrome (HLHS) while she was still in her mum Fay's womb.

Now Fay and her girl have brought together members of the support group founded, the Heart Family Group, to share an important lockdown message.

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Chanel and Fay Murrish open the video by writing a message to be passed around 43 other heart families.

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Chanel, who lives with Fay, 30, dad Micheal, 34, and brothers Chase, 10, and Cole, seven, in Seaham, has been told to shield by the NHS because she is at greater risk.

This means the family are living with tighter restrictions than most families and for a minimum 12-week period.

The pair kick off the video by writing a note, which is then passed between 43 families before it is unfurled to show the words: “Thinking of our heart family, stay safe” with the message decorated with a rainbow and congenital heart awareness symbol.

Chanel Murrish, who is now six-years-old, was diagnosed with her heart condition before she was born.

Fay, who has worked with the British Heart Foundation to raise awareness of heart defects, said: “I had the idea for the video after seeing so many people take to social media as an outlet through the coronavirus and I thought it would be a lovely idea to make it look like we were all passing a message each to each other in their homes, even though we were all apart.

“Many of the children are high risk and a lot of them - including Chanel - are in the ‘shielding’ category.

“For children stuck indoors for so long and who don’t understand why it can get hard and I wanted to create something to make them smile.

Fay and Chanel Murrish have won a host of awards between them for their work they have done to raise awareness of heart conditions and for their fundraising efforts.

“Many of the parents have messaged me since saying the children are watching the video on their iPads on repeat and love it which is wonderful and the aim.

“Hopefully we are helping to raise awareness that lots of children are high risk through this virus and need protecting too.”

The BHF says it is committed to supporting heart patients like Chanel during this crisis and ensuring research offers them hope for the future.

Chanel Murrish underwent heart surgery when she was just a minute old.