Family of 'little fighter' Minnie McHale told second open heart surgery is now a certainty

It was the news they perhaps expected but feared nonetheless.

By Joanna Wardill
Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 10:00 am

The parents of 'little fighter' Minnie McHale have been told for certain that she will need a second round of open heart surgery in the near future.

As previously reported in the Express, the seven-month-old's family was waiting to hear whether surgeons felt another high-risk operation was necessary after her first op was carried out when she was just 13 days old.

Minnie was born with a life-threatening heart condition called coarctation of the aorta - a narrowing of one of the arteries which sends blood around her body.

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Minnie McHale will need a second round of open heart surgery in the near future.

She had recovered well from her initial life-saving surgery at Leeds General Infirmary's congenital heart unit but recent tests had shown a valve in her heart was leaking.

Mum Tara Farrar, 32, of Carleton, Pontefract, said she has now had the call to say Minnie will need further surgery - likely before the end of the year.

She said: "She needs an MRI scan first to given them a clearer picture. I'm glad we finally have an answer, it's just the waiting now. I'd prefer to get it over and done with, as soon as possible.

"I was quite matter of fact [when we found out] but when you think about it all, I get emotional. As we get closer to it, that's when it will hit a lot more, obviously becoming more real.

Mum and dad, Tara Farrar and Alex McHale, have praisedMinnie's medical care and thesupport they have received from theChildren's Heart Surgery Fund.

"Hopefully once she has this one, she won't need any more.

"She might have some more when she's a teenager but that's a long time away. We won't think about that yet."

Tara previously told the Express, Minnie is her "little fighter" for all she has gone through and described the youngster as a "cheeky, very happy baby".

She and fiance Alex McHale, 33, praised Minnie's medical care and the support they have received from the Children's Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), which supports the congenital heart unit at LGI.

The charity has an ambition to raise £1m through donations in 2020.

In October, Tara and Alex, who is a singer, organised a music night at a Castleford pub and raised £3,000 - split between CHSF and The Sick Children's Trust, which runs Eckersley House, where parents can stay while their child is at LGI.

Tara has also signed up to do a sky dive for CHSF in July.

"When they have helped so much and you've been through something like this, it makes you realised and want to give back," she said.