Sunderland toddler fights back from three open-heart surgeries and three cardiac arrests

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'He had three cardiac arrests'

Meet Finley Jake Featherstone - the 'little charmer' who has gone through a whole string of health battles.

But despite it all, the 19-month-old from Sunderland never stops smiling and his mum Ashleigh Steele today hailed him as 'amazing'.

Thankfully, Finley is doing well now but just look at this list of his struggles.

He had open heart surgery at 10 days old

He was found to have a heart defect when his mum had her 20-week scan.

Ashleigh told the Echo: "Our journey all started from the minute we were told our babies heart hadn’t developed correctly."

He spent two months at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle within an hour of being born and had open heart surgery three times - at 10 days, 31 days and at 18 month old.

Finley had been diagnosed with Truncus Arteriosus Type 2 and he also had a hole in the heart.

His aortic valve had deteriorated so much that it had to be replaced by cow tissue.

'Our little heart warrior'

Finley came home but just four weeks later, he was back in hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary after vomiting bile.

He needed an operation on his bowel and then had his third open heart surgery.

Finley had three cardiac arrests and Ashleigh added: "Thank you to his incredible surgeon, Mr Muhammad Nissar and his remarkable team for saving Finley’s life."

'We are so proud of how far he has come'

She described her son as 'our little heart warrior' and added: "He showed us so much strength and resilience. He is now continuing to live his best life. He is the strongest and happiest boy you’ll ever meet."

Tiny Finley who faced a battle from the moment he was born.Tiny Finley who faced a battle from the moment he was born.
Tiny Finley who faced a battle from the moment he was born. | ugc

Mum Ashleigh told the Echo: "He's well now. He is the picture of health and living that normal life that we always wanted.

So happy. That's Finlay who has been described as a 'proper little charmer'.So happy. That's Finlay who has been described as a 'proper little charmer'.
So happy. That's Finlay who has been described as a 'proper little charmer'. | ugc

"He is an absolute charmer and always smiling from the moment he wakes up. We are so proud of him and how far he has come."

Finley faces the camera.Finley faces the camera.
Finley faces the camera. | ugc

Finley, whose parents are Ashleigh, 34, and dad Jake Featherstone, 31, is one of three children who will benefit from a charity night being held by Maureen Thompson from Sunderland.

A constant vigil by his bedside.A constant vigil by his bedside.
A constant vigil by his bedside. | ugc

Maureen has gathered in tens of thousands of pounds ever since her husband Allan died after a four-year battle with leukaemia in 2000.

23 years of fundraising and still going strong

Maureen had only planned to do one year of fundraising after her husband's death. She is now in her 23rd year.

Maureen Thompson who has fundraised for fantastic causes for years.Maureen Thompson who has fundraised for fantastic causes for years.
Maureen Thompson who has fundraised for fantastic causes for years. | ugc

Tickets for this year's event are £7.50 and the fun lasts from 7pm to 1am.

She would love to hear from anyone who can donate prizes for the night.

They can contact her by emailing [email protected]