Blantyre Teenager backs heart charity

rainbowKIERON Balfour is enjoying life as a Blantyre teenager – after surgeons were flown more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic so he could have pioneering heart surgery.

The 15-year-old was born with a rare defect called Ebstein’s anomaly – a condition that causes one side of the heart to become dangerously enlarged due to a faulty valve.

His mother, Michelle, 38, refused to switch off his life support machine when he was a baby and was told so many times to prepare for the worst, that she had her son’s funeral planned in her head.

But the family, from Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, were given fresh hope last year when a charity stepped in to bring top cardiac specialists from America to Scotland, so he could have the operation he needed to survive.

It was the first time the pioneering surgery, carried out at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, Glasgow, had ever been done in Scotland.

The Scottish surgeon, Mark Danton, who carried out the valve reconstruction under the eye of Dr Pedro del Nido, chief of cardiac surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, warned Mrs Balfour that Kieron might not survive the 10-hour procedure.

But Kieron is now preparing to celebrate his 16th birthday next month.

“I knew I was in good hands when they said they were coming over, because not only did I have the best surgeon in Scotland; I had one of the best in America, too,” he said.

“They had to prepare you for the worst but I was never really scared. I just wanted it done and out the way.

“Now I have much more energy. I’ve just sat my National 5 exams and I’m looking forward to the future.”

The teenager is now organising a fundraising night in aid of Rebecca’s Rainbow Heart Ebstein’s Anomaly Trust, which spearheaded the campaign to make the surgery available in Scotland.

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