An eight-year-old girl who underwent life-saving heart surgery when she was a baby will be cheering on her father as he runs the London Marathon for the British Heart Foundation.
FUNDRAISER Mark Winter is running the London Marathon after his daughter Ellie-May was born with major heart problems.
Ellie-May Winter, of East Stoke, was born with Vater Syndrome which can carry several health problems.
In Ellie-May’s case her esophagus was joined to her stomach rather than her lungs, she had two holes in her heart and one of the valves was not working properly.
She underwent surgery to correct the first problem shortly after she was born, but had to wait until she was 18 months for an operation on her heart.
The four-hour operation was carried out at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester.
Her mother, Fiona Merrin, said the operation was a success but Ellie-May continues to have annual check-ups and will need further treatment when she is older.
She said: “Because of the operation Ellie-May is able to have a good quality of life and is a bright little girl who is doing really well at school.”
Her parents are grateful for the help given to their daughter.
Her father Mr Mark Winter, 44, said they were keen to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, which carries out research into heart problems.
He said: “We would both like other children to benefit from the money raised to help the charity.”
Mr Winter will take part in next month’s London Marathon with other runners raising money for the charity.
Mr Winter, who runs his own horticultural and grounds maintenance business, said his customers had been so supportive he was well on the way to reaching his £2,000 target.
It will be the first time he has tackled a full marathon but he has run about six half-marathons over the past two years and ran the Grantham Half-Marathon on Sunday.
He will be cheered on in London by Fiona and Ellie-May.
“Hopefully the sight of them will help me if I hit the wall,” he said.
The couple’s other children William, 10, Oliver, 7, and Amelia, 3, will cheer him on from home.
Mr Winter is still looking for sponsors.
Donations can be made at virginmoneygiving.com/Mark.Winter2