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‘Little fighter’ Hayden struck with rare heart condition

Ria Smith and Anthony Coxon with baby Hayden and toddler Poppy.

Ria Smith and Anthony Coxon with baby Hayden and toddler Poppy.

ADORABLE Hayden Smith looks like any normal healthy little baby boy - but the brave youngster has a battle on his hands after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition.

ADORABLE Hayden Smith looks like any normal healthy little baby boy - but the brave youngster has a battle on his hands after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition.

What started out with just a rash, quickly developed into Hayden losing the colour in his arms and legs before the youngster was taken to hospital and found to have a heart murmur.

Doctors were initially not too concerned, but scans then showed that Hayden had a hole in his heart, a condition which affects just seven in 1,000 babies.

Remarkably and to the absolute delight of his family, Hayden fought back and was well enough to be allowed home for Christmas, despite having suffered with bronchiolitis as well.

But the parents of the brave nine-week-old little boy are now equipping themselves for a turbulent 2014, starting with the first of at least two heart operations on the youngster at the end of this month at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle.

Today, Hayden’s loving parents, Ria Smith, 21, and Anthony Coxon, 22, described to the Mail their devastation they felt when they were given the diagnosis, but the sheer pride they feel for their “little fighter”.

Ria, who lives with the family in Hartlepool’s West View Road, said: “I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet for us.

“But even though he’s just nine-weeks-old, Hayden has already showed how brave and how much of a little fighter he is.”

Ria was visiting family in London with Hayden when she first noticed a rash coming out on her son’s body when he was just six-weeks-old.

She rushed him to A&E after his arms and legs started turning blue and a doctor there detected a heart murmur, but Ria said she was told it was quite common for a child if they were suffering with a virus.

After heading back north, concerned Ria decided to take Hayden for a check-up again and went to A&E at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

Ria was told a date would be fixed for Hayden to have a scan but later that week the youngster took another bad turn and Ria and Anthony rushed him back to hospital.

Hayden was immediately put on oxygen and a scan then showed that he was missing the septum, the wall of the heart which splits the left and right ventricle.

But the condition was complicated as the two ventricles in Hayden’s heart aren’t the same size.

A date has now been set for Hayden’s first operation on January 29, but before then the youngster has to put weight on to ensure he is strong enough to handle the surgery.

The youngster is now on medication at home as well as taking calorific milk to help develop his strength.

Ria, who is unemployed and also a mum of Poppy Smith, two, said: “I’m still trying to get my head round it all.

“Everyone thinks it’s not going to happen to their family and to look at Hayden you would think there was absolutely nothing wrong.”

Hayden’s family are hopeful the youngster has a healthy future ahead after surgery, but at the minute vow to take just one step at a time.

Anthony, who is out of work, said: “We’re just taking each day as it comes at the minute.

“It’s brilliant to have him home with us and it was lovely to have all of the family together at Christmas.

“We had started taking presents into the hospital because we thought we would be spending Christmas Day there so it was such a boost when he was allowed home.

“But we just want to take a step at a time.”

 

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