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Dartford baby features in children's hospital music video about congenital heart disease


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A mum has opened up about her experiences raising a son with congenital heart disease in a bid to raise awareness of the condition.

Gemma Thomas, whose son Dempsey Wright, 1, was born with the disease is hoping to spread awareness along with a children's hospital who have released a music video about it.

Evelina Children's Heart Operation (ECHO) produce congenital heart disease awareness music video

The former carer found out her son had the condition at her 20 week scan at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford.

"It is devastating to hear," she said.

"It's awful, absolutely awful to hear about it. But there's been no effects since the open heart surgery he had when he was 10 days old, and then he was on a drip to keep him alive.

"I was only allowed to hold him for a second before a group of nurses whisked him away. It was heartbreaking.

Dempsey Wright, 1, was born with congenital heart disease (39522878)
Dempsey Wright, 1, was born with congenital heart disease (39522878)

"I have two older children and it's completely different to their births as they're right next to you straight away, but he wasn't."

Gemma, of High Road, Wilmington, Dartford, explained how Dempsey is one of 77 children in an awareness video created by the Evelina Children's Heart Operaton (ECHO) charity.

She says it will help a lot of people taking the step into parenthood release what they could be facing.

She said: "It will help a lot of other parents and raise awareness and those starting their journey into having a baby with congenital heart disease and knowing they're not alone.

"It's positive video and will show how many children make it through the tough times.

“Byron's song is beautiful and has a message of resilience..."

"It's important to me because you don't ever think this was a thing until it happens to you and then it smacks you in the face how often and serious it can be."

Evelina is the closest place for Kent parents to travel if they need their child to be treated for the condition.

Gravesend mum Natalie Rhodes's son Arthur was also included in the awareness video.

She explained how the tot needs regular heart check ups and has had multiple open heart surgeries, with his third due in a month's time.

Chief executive at ECHO Samantha Johnson said: “Byron's song is beautiful and has a message of resilience, a characteristic shown by children with heart conditions, we are often told that ECHO become a second family so the "I am home" lyrics meant so much to us.

Demspey Wright, 1, from Wilmington, has to get regular heart checkups (39522876)
Demspey Wright, 1, from Wilmington, has to get regular heart checkups (39522876)

"ECHO is so grateful for the support of Byron, the Stratford East Singers, and all the families who have collaborated in creating this project. We hope this song will raise awareness and vital funds to support children with congenital heart conditions.”

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

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