Batley Carr family fights for Leeds heart unit

RALLYING CALL: Emma Brook, pictured with her son Alfie, is backing the Save Our Surgery campaign to keep the Children's Heart Surgery Unit in Leeds.  (d26041107)
RALLYING CALL: Emma Brook, pictured with her son Alfie, is backing the Save Our Surgery campaign to keep the Children's Heart Surgery Unit in Leeds. (d26041107)

A MUM is fighting to save the hospital unit treating her son, who was born with half a heart.

Since little Alfie Holland was born, he has had several operations to control the amount of blood going through his heart.

It has meant regular visits for all the family to the Children’s Heart Surgery Unit in Leeds.

But the unit could be closed as part of a national review, forcing the family to travel as far as Liverpool or Newcastle.

Mum Emma Brook, 32, said: “With Alfie’s condition it is a worry. It seems like forever just getting to Leeds when you’re in a rush.

“The nurses are unbelievable there and we’d just like to let everyone know how important it is.”

In around 12 weeks’ time, 16-month-old Alfie is due to have another operation to reduce the pressure on his heart and get more oxygen into his blood.

Miss Brook, of Hyrst Garth, Batley Carr, said: “This next operation is a big one. I’m dreading it. These operations are all in preparation for bigger ones later on. He’ll probably need a transplant as he gets older.”

And for the family, it has been a real comfort to have a leading heart unit so close to home.

Alfie’s grandma, Gillian Holland, said: “They get to know you as people, not just patients. It’s just going to be awful if they’re not there.”

The family is among thousands supporting the Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaign.

Mrs Holland, 48, who works at Val’s cafe in Dewsbury, said: “I took in loads of petitions and it’s been unbelievable. We’ve had loads of support. We just want people to back it and do what they can to stop it closing.”

Visit www.chsf.org.uk to sign the SOS petition.