Fratton boy who turns 2 next month has already had 5 heart surgeries for defect

NEXT month Jack Clements will turn two years old but the youngster has already undergone five open heart surgeries due to a congenital defect.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 12:17 pm

Now for national heart month, Jack and mum Maria Gardiner are taking part in a step fundraiser to raise cash for charity and raise awareness of the congenital heart defects.

Maria, from Fratton, found out that Jack had tricuspid atresia at her 20-week scan. The condition means the valve between two of the heart’s chambers hasn’t formed which restricts blood flow.

The 29-year-old said: ‘It was really scary. I had no idea about heart defects and I found out that Jack's defect is quite rare.

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Jack Clements, from Fratton, at Southampton General Hospital

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‘It has been rough over the last couple of years. We spent the first seven months of his life at Southampton General Hospital and we have been in and out a lot.

‘He turns two next month and he has already had five open heart surgeries. He is very small for his age and is still in 9 to 12 month clothes.

‘Due to the defect he has had growing and weight problems but he is such a happy boy. It has been really hard but I wouldn’t change him for the world.’

This week Jack has been doing a 66,000-step fundraiser alongside four other youngsters across the south coast, who were at Southampton General Hospital at the same time, to raise money for charity Tiny Tickers and the Ocean Ward at SGH.

So far t team have raised more than £2,200.

Maria, who works at Estee Lauder, said: ‘The group of parents has been such an amazing support. We are all going through the same thing and having someone there to chat to, when Jack has gone a bit blue and my anxiety is through the roof, is so helpful.

‘We wanted to raise money for them because they have been amazing and it is 66,000 steps as that it is the length in miles of the circulatory system if it was laid out flat.

‘It can be very tiring for them to move so we have been doing about 1,900 steps a day through dancing about the house.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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