Schools rallying round to boost Smarties tubes cash fundraiser

Kidderminster Shuttle: SMARTIES CHALLENGE: Samuel Robinson, front, with back from left, friends George Chance, eight and Poppy Elwell, 10 and his mother Rachel Robinson. Buy this photo SMARTIES CHALLENGE: Samuel Robinson, front, with back from left, friends George Chance, eight and Poppy Elwell, 10 and his mother Rachel Robinson.

THE mother of a seven-year-old boy born with half a heart has helped bring together nearly 300 schoolchildren to raise funds for a rare heart condition charity.

Rachel Robinson, of Cleobury Mortimer, is raising money for Little Hearts Matter, a charity that supports her son Samuel Robinson who was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome when she was 20 weeks pregnant.

Kinlet CofE Primary School pupil Samuel had his first open heart surgery when he was just three days old. He has since had three other major operations and may eventually need a full heart transplant.

Mrs Robinson, 27, said: "The one pump that he has got has to do the whole job. He gets tired a lot quicker than his three sisters and friends.

"He copes reasonably well with the condition. He can't run around and play as much and the hospital stays are hard on him.

"Ultimately, most of these children [with the condition] will need a heart transplant in the future. While they can get their own hearts to work, they'll be kept going. We hope for further medical advancements."

Mrs Robinson is raising awareness and money for the charity by asking children at Kinlet CofE Primary, Far Forest Lea Memorial CofE Primary and Lacon Childe Schools to collect 20ps in a Smarties tube in exchange for doing good deeds for their parents.

"The children are doing well," Mrs Robinson added. "I've had a few friends contact me with photos of their children washing up or washing cars. I felt a bit mean suggesting it but they all seem really keen.

"Little Hearts Matter support the families affected by this specific disease, it doesn't affect that many children so it's valuable support.

"Initially, they gave me support and information on the diagnosis. They tell you what your treatment options are, what life could be like and put you in touch with other parents."

The Smarties challenge, which was kicked off as part of National Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week in February, will end on March 14 and all children with a completed tube will be entered into a prize draw.

For more information on Little Hearts Matter visit lhm.org.uk

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