BY JAMES TWOMEY
A baby who was born with a rare heart defect has defied the odds and is about to celebrate his first birthday.
Théodore Clark Chamming’s, from Hither Green, was born in November 2018 but he immediately turned blue and had to be intubated, which involved inserting a tube down his throat to help him breathe.
He was only a couple of hours old when he was rushed by ambulance with his dad, Alex, to Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
Doctors discovered that Théodore had a rare heart defect where the four blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart from the lungs were not connected correctly.
His mum, Amanda, said: “All the scans throughout my pregnancy had been fine, so it was a complete shock.
“Around three hours after giving birth I was discharged and went straight to Evelina London to be with Théodore.
“When I arrived there were loads of people looking after him in the hospital, and when he was just eight hours old they rushed him into theatre for emergency open heart surgery – it was a pretty horrific time for us.”
Surgeons carried out an operation, which involved stopping Théodore’s heart from beating for one hour in order to make the repairs, while a machine took over the function of his heart and lungs.
Amanda, a lawyer, said: “Théodore spent two weeks in hospital and was hooked up to lots of wires so we couldn’t hold him.
“He had fluid on his lungs along with a number of other post-op complications, and at one point we were told that he might not make it and that we should prepare for the worst.
“Thankfully he turned a corner and spent a further two weeks in Savannah Ward, which cares for children with heart conditions, before we could take him home just in time for Christmas.
“We had amazing support from everyone at Evelina London and we were so lucky that Théodore received the best care possible.
“All the staff were wonderful and you can tell it isn’t just a job for them. Even after he was discharged the nurses answered my calls and emails whenever I had a question.”
Amanda said: “We go back to Evelina London quite often and each visit reminds us how lucky we are to have Théodore with us here today – we’ll never be able to thank Evelina London for everything they did for us, but we hope that the money we raise can go towards helping them save other precious lives.”
The Chamming’s’ are now taking on challenges to raise money for Evelina London.
Amanda recently took part in the Royal Parks half-marathon and 34-year-old Alex is set to run the London Marathon next year with his brother-in-law.
Money raised by Team Theo will be split between the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and Cardiology Kids, which aims to raise £150,000 for the Cardiology Team as a legacy of the 150th birthday of Evelina London.