Parents talk of almost losing daughter
WHEN Duncan Cook handed over his baby daughter for life-saving heart surgery, he told the anaesthetist "please look after her".
The Cheltenham teacher faced a trauma no parent would ask for when his seven- month-old daughter Zoe needed open heart surgery.
Duncan, 36 and his childminder wife Susie, 38, from Leckhampton, are backing the British Heart Foundation's Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the 70,000 children in the UK living with heart defects.
As Zoe reaches her second birthday, it's difficult to picture the toddler's face with the grey pallor it had as she constantly fought for breath in the first few months of her life.
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This was because she was born with two holes in her heart.
Her parents were able to take her home, but concerns grew for her health after she failed to put on weight.
Mr Clark said:"She wasn't thriving at all.
"There were a few times when she was blue-lighted to hospital."
A scan diagnosed a defect in the wall dividing the left and right sides of the heart – a ventricular septal defect.
Duncan added: "When they told us that they were keeping Zoe in, that's when it really sank in just how ill she was.
"Susie and I held her as they put the mask on her to knock her out.
"That moment you give her away was the worst. I didn't know that she was going to come out the other side."
Zoe had surgery on May 14 last year at Bristol Children's Hospital and spent a miraculous two days in the intensive care unit.
Duncan added: "Zoe was struggling so badly and it's only now that her personality is coming out. She's a strong character. She must have been to survive.
"We count ourselves as so lucky and that's why we want to tell our story by giving something back."
For more details, go to bhf.org.uk