Parents of Northampton girl who survived three heart attacks fund life-saving machines at hospital

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A Northampton couple whose little girl survived three heart attacks and a stroke has raised £32,000 for the hospital who saved their daughter's life.

Denise and Iain Page, from Spinney Hill, pledged to raise the money to thank Glenfield Hospital, in Leicester, after their 13-month-old toddler Willow endured a "nightmare" four-week battle with a heart virus in 2013.

Now, after three years of fundraising through skydiving, fetes and bag packing at supermarkets, Denise and Iain have presented their earnings at a ceremony on June 20 to fund a new artificial heart and lung machine.

Denise and Iain Page said: “We are forever grateful to the nurses, doctors and consultants at Glenfield Hospitals that helped save our beautiful little girl. This is our way of giving something back.”

In June 2013, Willow was admitted to Northampton General Hospital aged just 13-months-old with a suspected chest infection. But within a few hours, her condition rapidly deteriorated to the point her heart stopped three times, including one occasion that lasted four-and-a-half minutes.

Speaking in 2013, Mrs Page said: "I believe Willow wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the nurse in accident and emergency who convinced me to keep her in the hospital.

"The staff at the hospital don’t normally have to deal with a child that ill. It is every parent’s worst nightmare."

Willow was diagnosed with myocarditis, which causes an inflammation of the heart and severely affects its function.

She was transferred to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and placed on an extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which acts as an artificial lung and heart and allows the patient's heart to rest and recover.

During her stay, Willow spent 12 days on the ECMO machine and even suffered a stroke. But her condition gradually improved and she was finally able to go home at the end of July.

After their ordeal, Iain and Denise promised themselves they would thank the hospital for all their work.

Now, after a three-year fundraising drive, Iain and Denise have brought five-year-old Willow back to Glenfield hospital where they have just helped to buy a new ECMO machine.

Their £32,000 donation has been met by children's charity Heart Link, who has funded two further ECMO machines worth £28,000 each.

Gail Faulkner, ECMO Coordinator at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you for the generous donation made by Willow and her parents. This means so much not only to the ECMO team but to all the patients who require ECMO treatment at Glenfield.

“We would not be able to provide this therapy without the continued support and generosity of Heart Link. By receiving these machines, hundreds of lives will be saved and so many families will benefit from this technology.”

At the official unveiling ceremony will take place on at Glenfield Hospital yesterday, one of the new ECMO machines was named after Willow.

The other two machines will be named after the late Heart Link President Dr Vincent Redding and Amanda French, whose treatment at Glenfield led to the founding of Heart Link.

Richard French, Committee Member at Heart Link, added: “We have supported ECMO since day one and remain fully committed to the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield. This is only possible due to our fantastic fundraisers who choose Heart Link at Glenfield.”