‘Frozen’ baby is this 
family’s ray of hope

HAPPY FAMILY: Finley Burton pictured with mum Donna and grandparents Joan and Kevin Link-Emery
HAPPY FAMILY: Finley Burton pictured with mum Donna and grandparents Joan and Kevin Link-Emery

A LITTLE boy who was “frozen” as he battled back from heart surgery has been given a clean bill of health.

Doctors told the parents of Finley Burton he has a “happy heart” and will not be due for another check-up until next year.

Looking at this picture of Finley, who turns three in February, when he was just three months old and he suffered complications after having surgery for two holes in the heart and a narrowing of a major artery, his parents Donna Link-Emery and Aaron Burton thought he may not survive.

But to see him now, he is just like any other boy of his age and is looking forward to starting nursery education in February.

Finley hit local and national headlines in 2010 after he was “frozen” and placed on an external pacemaker following complications after surgery.

His tiny heart had gone into junctional ectopic tachycardia, a severe type of heart rhythm and medics took the unusual step of placing him an inflatable “bag” and lowered his temperature to just 33.4C to stop any shivering disturbing the pacemaker.

Mum Donna, now 30, said: “He has just been for a check-up at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and he was fine.

“The doctors said he has got a happy heart.”

Easington Colliery Primary School worker Donna, who lives with Finley and Aaron, a 34-year-old Stonham Housing worker, who is also dad to 11-year-old Demi-Louise Burton from a previous relationship, in Paradise Lane, Easington Colliery, added: “It’s hard to think that I couldn’t even look at the picture of him with all the wires back then.”
She had this advice for other parents who may find themselves in a similar situation: “Don’t give up – you find that adrenaline and your maternal instinct kicks in and you cope and get on with things.
“I want to re-iterate how thankful we are to the Freeman.”

Finley’s progress is a ray of hope for Donna, as her parents have been battling their own health problems.

As previously reported by the Mail, Donna’s dad Kevin, 54, who works for BHK Flooring in Peterlee, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April last year.

He had a nine-and-a-half-hour operation to remove the tumour, but sadly was diagnosed with a second tumour and had more surgery. A third was discovered in the summer and he is undergoing new innovative treatment called tomotherapy, which is similar to radiotherapy but targets hard-to-reach areas of the tumour.

Kevin is one of only a few people undergoing the new treatment, which he receives from Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital.

He will find out how successful the treatment has been in February.

The family was dealt a further blow in April when Donna’s mum, Joan, 55, who works for East Durham Homes, was diagnosed with breast cancer, which also affected her lymph nodes.

She had an operation at the University Hospital of Hartlepool in May, followed by chemotherapy and is now undergoing hormone treatment.