Melbourn girl, 6, gives thanks to hospital after collapsing due to undiagnosed heart defect

Amelia's family are all getting involved. Back left to right: Kelly Kessler (Jacey’s sister in law),

Amelia's family are all getting involved. Back left to right: Kelly Kessler (Jacey’s sister in law), Jacey Stewart, Phil Stewart. Front left to right: Isabelle Kessler (Amelia's cousin), Amelia Stewart, Thomas Stewart. - Credit: Archant

A six-year-old girl from Melbourn is getting set to say thanks to the specialist hospital that cared for her after she collapsed due to an undiagnosed heart defect – and her fundraising effort is going to be a real family affair.

Despite a healthy and normal birth, Amelia Stewart was struggling to gain weight a few weeks into her life.

After regular visits to a doctor and health visitor, she was referred to a feeding specialist and the cause was determined to be a ‘failure to thrive’.

A frightening ordeal ensued when the next day she collapsed and was taken to the Royal London Hospital where she collapsed again.

Amelia’s condition was stabilised by doctors and she was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital for sick children.

And when she arrived at the world-famous institution, she was diagnosed with complete atrioventricular septal defect – her heart was beating too fast because it had a tiny hole in it.

Surgery followed a few days later and throughout her treatment Amelia’s parents, Jacey and Phil, were able to stay close by in parent accommodation, funded by the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

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Amelia gave her parents the best possible present by opening her eyes for the first time since the surgery on Christmas Day 2009, before being discharged from hospital on New Year’s Eve.

Jacey said: “The cardiologist explained that her heart had been beating so fast that it was burning all the calories she was consuming – the equivalent of running a marathon each day.”

Amelia now attends cardiac clinic every 18 months, and consultants are happy with her progress.

She is now a happy, healthy six-year-old who loves to dance, and can’t wait to own her first guinea pig.

Jacey and Phil have signed up to take part in this year’s 5km RBC Race for the Kids which will be held in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday, May 15, raising funds for Great Ormond Street, alongside Amelia and her little brother Thomas.

Jacey said: “We just can’t thank the staff enough for their hard work and determination.

“My family will be taking part in this race with my sister-in-law Kelly and nine-year-old niece Isabelle, who has designed posters with her fundraising page details and handed it around at school.”

To donate, search ‘RBC Race for the Kids 2016: Team Kessler-Stewart’.