THE mother of a baby with two heart defects says the closure of a children’s hospital unit would leave her feeling helpless.
Rachael Akyuz, of The Close, Durkar, had to rush her 14-month-old daughter Aysegul to the Children’s Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary for heart surgery just two months after she was born.
And the little girl, who suffers from pulmonary atresia and ventrical septal defect, is due for another operation in about two months’ time.
But the future of the unit is under review due to Government budget cuts – and if it closes Mrs Akyuz, 25, will face a two-hour trip to Newcastle whenever Aysegul needs urgent attention.
Mrs Akyuz, who suffers from cerebral palsy, said she would have to make the trip alone as her husband Murat works.
She said: “With my condition it is hard enough for me to get to Leeds on my own and deal with the buses.
“It’s worrying. I don’t know how I’m going to do it if the unit closes.
“Aysegul needs this operation. It’s a very serious one and there is a lot of risk involved.”
Mrs Akyuz said she was planning to do a parachute jump in the near future to raise some money for the unit and help raise awareness of the struggles it is facing.
She said the jump would also be in memory of a friend’s baby who recently passed away after suffering from a heart defect.
Mrs Akyuz said: “Not a lot of people know how many lives are taken by this awful illness every year.
“We need the community to understand the stress and trouble it will cause if the ward shuts down.”
To help support the ward, log onto www.chsf.org.uk