A North-east teenager who was the smallest baby in Britain to survive open heart surgery is to take part in an event to give back to charity.
Hundreds of kilt-wearing fundraisers including Jade McWilliam, of Kintore, will take part in Aberdeen’s Kiltwalk.
The race, which has routes that go from Potarch to Duthie Park, will take place on June 3.
The 17-year-old faced surgery at just 15 weeks old when she weighed just over 2lbs. Jade plans to take part in the event’s Big Stroll – a 14.1-mile trek, and will be walking with a group of six others including her sister Iona, 13, boyfriend Jack, mum Mags and dad Ian. This will be brave Jade’s second time at the event along with her mum.
Mags, 43, said: “Jade has never let her heart problems stop her doing things she wants to do, and it’s nice to show other parents of children with congenital heart defects that they can do it too. Jade just wants to give back to the charities that have helped her, such as the British Heart Foundation.”
Born 10 weeks premature, Jade’s heart problems weren’t discovered until she was 15 weeks old when she suffered a cardiac arrest.
The youngster was flown to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow and was put in an induced coma and underwent open heart surgery.
Mags added: “She was 2lb 2oz when she had the operation, and she is Britain’s smallest open heart surgery survivor. None of her difficulties with her heart were picked up on scans, it was a big shock especially as she was our first child.”
Both Jade and her mum want to raise awareness about congenital heart defects, and say it is more common than people may think.
Mags said: “There are 26 babies a month born with heart defects, there are 14 living in Aberdeen now and five in Kintore alone.
“She has been in hospitals her whole life and has made and lost friends there, so she will have a lot of empathy for patients.”
The teenager added: “We’ve always fundraised as a family, it just progressed from there. The Kiltwalk has a great atmosphere and it’s nice to talk to all of the other charities there.”
Those who want to take part in the any of the Kiltwalk routes – The Mighty Stride at 26 miles, The Big Stroll at 14.1 miles or The Wee Wander at just under 5 miles – should visit https://bit.ly/2E3sKot to register.