The real life story of a Derry boy with a heart defect is to be featured in a new Northern Ireland wide awareness campaign.
Caiden Dalzell from Creggan is just four years old but he’s already been through open heart surgery twice.
Now Caiden is starring in a new national billboard campaign to raise awareness of congenital heart disease and the work of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust.
Just four weeks after Caiden was born he was diagnosed with Atrioventricular Septal Defect, Ventricular Septal Defect and complete heart block. He underwent open heart surgery in June 2011, with a second operation taking place a month later, during which a pacemaker was fitted.
Caiden is one of seven children who’ll be appearing on billboards, bus stops, buses and social media right across Northern Ireland over the next few weeks.
The ‘Ever Been Heartbroken?’ campaign seeks to raise the profile of congenital heart disease, Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect and support for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust’s work across Northern Ireland.
The charity provides family support and information networks, fundraising for vital medical equipment for the Clark Clinic at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and counselling services.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Sarah Quinlan, Chief Executive, Children’s Heartbeat Trust said: “Every year 200 babies are born with congenital heart disease which is Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect.
“Like Caiden, they may have to go through serious operations as small children and learn how to live with complex heart defects. Caiden is one of the seven faces of this campaign, which highlights the very real heartbreak that so many children have to go through every year.
“The impact of congenital heart disease on families can be huge and we hope that this awareness campaign will allow the Children’s Heartbeat Trust to continue to offer practical and emotional support to these families.
We want to ensure that our work supports more children like Caiden and the other young stars of the ‘Ever Been Heartbroken?’ campaign.”
To find out more about the Children’s Heartbeat Trust visit its website on www.childrensheartbeattrust.org or donate £5 to the ‘Ever Been Heartbroken?’ campaign by texting HEARTS to 70660. Text costs £5 plus network charge and the Children’s Heartbeat Trust receives 100% of your donation.
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Customer care 02890312228. Charity No NIC102410