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Families give hospital a big thank-you

PUBLISHED: 09:31 17 November 2008 | UPDATED: 07:47 01 August 2010

WHEN Kim Gill and Lisa Youngs became friends, they had no idea that one day they would have so much in common.

Both had daughters, who were diagnosed with a heart murmur when they were born.

When Kim Gill and Lisa Youngs became friends, they had no idea that one day they would have so much in common.

Both had daughters, who were diagnosed with a heart murmur when they were born. The condition is not uncommon, but then doctors realised that they had a hole in the heart. And both little girls have had life-saving open-heart surgery at Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London.

On Friday night the two families, who live close to each other in Worlingham, near Beccles, held a party to raise money to the hospital as a way of saying thank-you. The party was a joint celebration for Mrs Youngs' 30th birthday and her husband Paul's 40th. They asked for donations instead of presents, local businesses donated prizes for a raffle, and with a £750 donation from Barclays, where Mrs Gill works, they raised nearly £1,600.

Charlotte Youngs, who is nearly three, had an operation to repair a hole in her heart a year ago. Mrs Gill and her husband Damon, 37, had already been through the traumatic process after Megan Gill, nine, was born with a hole in her heart and a faulty valve, which was repaired when she was a baby.

Mrs Youngs, a waitress and mother-of-two, said: “Kim was so fantastic when she found out Charlotte had to have an operation. She told us what to expect and reassured us.”

Mrs Gill, 35, who is also a mother-of-two, said: “When Lisa came to me and said that Charlotte had a heart murmur I reassured her, because it is quite common in babies. But then the James Paget Hospital said she had a hole in the heart and referred her to Great Ormond Street, just like they had with Megan. It was a sad time but I was so pleased to be able to support her.”

Megan would have died without the operation, but her family feared for the worst when she had to have two seven-hour sessions of open heart surgery. Mrs Gill said: “They repaired three holes and the faulty valve, but then when they scanned her again afterwards they found another hole. They had to open her up again and we were prepared for the worst.

“It was an awful time but after that she just blossomed into a lovely little baby. It was an absolute miracle.”

Mrs Youngs said: “The cardiac unit there and what they do for those children is just unbelievable. I cannot thank them enough for what they have done. They really helped us through it and put our minds at rest.”

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