Child of Courage nominee – Emilia Wainwright-James
When Sarah Wainwright had a 20 week pregnancy scan she was given the devastating news that her unborn baby had a severe heart defect.
She and her partner, Antony James, were given the option of terminating the pregnancy or warned that their baby might die at around one week old without surgery.
The Tunstall couple chose to go ahead with the pregnancy and baby Emilia went on to have open heart surgery at just five days old to change the circulation of her heart.
Emilia had a stroke during the surgery, which has led to some development delays, and spent the first two months of her life in hospital. She was 19-months-old before she was able to walk and her family say he speech isn’t perfect but that she tries hard with it.
Now aged five, Emilia is still recovering from her third open heart surgery and has been able to return to school for half days with her classmates.
Her parents have been told the surgery is palliative and they don’t know if and when Emilia might need a heart transplant.
Sarah has nominated Emilia as a Child of Courage in the Your Heroes Awards.
She said: “Her heart condition can never be cured. Unfortunately the surgeries she’s had and any future surgeries are palliative.
“Emilia attends appointments frequently at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to ensure that the latest surgery is working how it should. If this fails, the only option will be a heart transplant.
“I believe Emilia should be nominated for Child of Courage at the Your Heroes Awards as she has gone through more pain and struggle than most adults do in a lifetime.
“She has shown nothing but bravery during these past few years, especially during her last operation. She is our heart warrior.”
Emilia has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which means the left side of the heart didn’t form correctly during pregnancy.
Sarah added: “Emila gets quite anxious about going to hospital and we try to reassure her that it needs to be done.
“Sometimes she’ll tell us that her legs aren’t strong and we’ll realise that she must have been struggling in the playground at school. We tell her that she’s the strongest person we’ve ever known.”