The Huddersfield Daily Examiner - Holmfirth mother Gilly Mallinson puts her heart into helping others

A HOLMFIRTH woman with a heart condition put her own problems aside to help others.

Gilly Mallinson was born with a serious heart condition and has twice had open heart surgery.

But she took part in the Great North Run to raise awareness and money for the Children’s Heart Federation, a charity which supports children with heart conditions.

Gilly said: “I was born with a heart condition known as Biscupid Aortic Valve and Coarctation of the Aorta.

“I had to have open heart surgery at the age of 13 to repair my valve.

“Then in 2009, I underwent open heart surgery to replace my valve with a mechanical one.”

When her daughter Stephanie was born in 1993, a check at three days old found she also had a heart murmur.

Further tests and investigations showed Stephanie had a hole in the heart but later on, as is sometimes the case with new born babies, the murmur disappeared.

Gilly added: “After further investigations we were advised it was an innocent murmur, which was a huge relief.

“Throughout my own experience of living with a heart condition, and having concerns than my own daughter could also have a problem, it made me very aware of the stress and worry parents go through when their children are diagnosed with a heart problem.”

So she took part in the 13-mile Great North Run in Newcastle to raise awareness about Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) and to show that those born with CHD can take part in exercise.

“I achieved my dream of being part of the GNR and raising funds for the Children’s Heart Federation who do so much for children and their families with CHD.

“I was delighted to give something back.”

Around one in every 133 children has a heart problem – a total of about 5,000 children each year.

CHF provides advice and support as well as small grants to help with travel and accommodation costs when a child is in hospital.

CHF also gives children vital medical equipment to enable them to lead more independent lives and reduce the amount of trips they have to make to hospital.

Rebecca Holt, family support officer for CHF said: “Gilly is an inspirational person with an amazing story, showing great determination to not be defined by her condition and she didn’t give up after setbacks along the way.

“She is a great role model for anyone with a heart condition showing that they can truly achieve their goals.”

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