After a 20-week pregnancy scan, Eileen and Ken Hori of Cambridge, U.K. were told their baby would be born with half a heart, but they decided to go through with the pregnancy, knowing they would at least get a chance to meet and hold their little boy.
Now after three open-heart surgeries and dozens of hospital visits, Sammy is a lively and healthy 6-year-old. “It is incredible watching him playing football [soccer] with his friends as we never expected him to live for more than a week,” says Eileen, who also has three other children, Meggie, 11, Tommy, 8, and Elsie, 3.
Luckily, at their 28-week scan, doctors noticed that Sammy’s small heart started to develop some other vital parts, which made operating on him a possibility after delivery. He was born on May 1, 2004 weighing 6lbs., 13 oz. and was taken straight to intensive care.
At the age of six weeks, Sammy underwent his first high-risk heart operation, followed by two more to re-plumb his heart at the age of 21 months and 4-years-old.
And now he enjoys running, swimming and playing soccer, although as he gets older, all these activites will become more difficult due to his poor circulation and the fact that he still only has half a heart.
“In the long term a heart transplant may be the way forward,” a spokesman for Little Hearts Matter charity explains. “Thanks to improving surgery which has been revolutionized in the last 10 years it is fantastic that Sammy is now nearly seven.”
And Eileen adds, “Sammy knows he has a special heart and is doing really well at the moment.” Wonderful news.