'We look at her every day and remember how truly lucky we are' - Melbourn's Amelia, 7, gets starring role in Great Ormond Street Hospital's Christmas campaign
PUBLISHED: 08:10 22 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:53 22 December 2016
It hasn't been an ordinary run-up to Christmas for one Melbourn seven-year-old and her family - as she has been given a starring role in Great Ormond Street Hospital charity's Christmas campaign.
Amelia Stewart was born with atrioventricular septal defect, which caused a tiny hole in her heart and made it beat too fast, she collapsed weeks after being born and needed lifesaving surgery at the world-renowned children’s hospital.
After the operation, she opened her eyes on her first ever Christmas day in 2009, which mum Jacey, 38, said was ‘the best Christmas present ever’.
Dad Phil told the Crow: “Amelia was chosen because we entered the GOSH charity’s fun run earlier in the year, and they asked if we had any affiliation with the hospital, we said yes and contacted us from there.
“We had the Christmas tree up in June for a photo, and Amelia and her brother Thomas designed Christmas cards – it was all very exciting.”
When the GOSH Christmas campaign was rolled out nationwide by Sainsbury’s supermarket Amelia’s family, including granny and pa, grandad, and her friends at Melbourn Primary School were all thrilled to see her photo on the poster boards in-store.
When Amelia visited the store down in Stevenage, with her parents and brother they took a photo in front of the board and were recognised by a lady, who they got talking to and found out was a Great Ormond Street nurse on the intensive care paediatric ward for 15 years, which Phil, 40, said was a great coincidence and made Amelia feel like a superstar.
“You wouldn’t know that Amelia she ever had anything wrong with her,” said Phil.
“She has a flat scar and she has heart check-ups every 18 months.
“She’s not making progress because there isn’t progress to be made – she’s a normal child.
“Nothing phases her. At her heart appointments, the only reason they struggle at first to get a heart-reading is because she’s so excited.”
To top off their year, Amelia and Thomas, 4, have even given special recognition at their school for their charitable efforts, the pair the first Good Citizen award in a special school assembly last week.
At Sainsbury’s, customers can purchase the specially created gingerbread ‘Dave’ from their Christmas TV advert and a film animation kit, with all profits going to the charity. Customers also have the option to make a 20p donation at the till.
Mum Jacey said: “We are delighted to support Sainsbury’s partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. It’s a charity very close to our hearts and we know how vital it was for us to stay close by when Amelia was at the hospital. ”
Charity chief executive Tim Johnson Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Amelia and her family for playing a very special role in our partnership with Sainsbury’s.”
Now the Stewarts are looking forward to another Christmas at home as a family. Phil added: “It’s been a privilege to be able to help the GOSH campaign at Sainsbury’s.
“We want to thank everyone who has supported us all the way since Amelia was in hospital. We look at her every day and remember how truly lucky we are.”