Dulwich father runs London Marathon to thank heart surgeons for saving his son’s life

BY TOBY PORTER
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

A father ran the London Marathon with the heart team from Evelina London Children’s Hospital to thank them for saving his son’s life.

Alamgir Kabir, 46, from Dulwich, is taking on the challenge with 14 members of Evelina London’s cardiology team after they treated his son for a serious heart condition.

Zaki Kabir, 13, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called truncus arteriosus by the hospital’s fetal cardiology team, when his mother, Saleha, was 20 weeks pregnant with him.

Truncus arteriosus is a rare condition where a single artery comes out of both ventricles of the heart, instead of the usual two. If untreated, the condition is fatal. Zaki had life-saving open heart surgery at Evelina London when he was six weeks old.

During the seven-hour operation doctors separated his aorta and pulmonary artery to create a pathway for blood to travel from the right ventricle of the heart out to the lungs.

Zaki had further surgery at Evelina London to repair his heart when he was five and again when he was 12. He has made a full recovery from the operations. Alamgir, who is a heart doctor himself, said: “We were devastated when we found out Zaki had a serious heart condition.

Alamgir with Zaki as a baby

My wife and I were terrified at the prospect of him undergoing major heart surgery at such a young age. But the heart team at Evelina London were amazing.

“They really went out of their way to put us at ease. As a heart doctor myself, I was extremely impressed by the cutting-edge treatments given to Zaki and the dedication and care shown by staff.

We owe Zaki’s life to Evelina London. I really couldn’t thank the hospital enough.

“Running the London Marathon is my way of saying thank you to the wonderful staff who looked after Zaki. I’m still in touch with the team who treated him so when I found out that a group of them were also planning to take part it made perfect sense to do it with them.

“I know the challenge will be really tough but running with the team who saved Zaki’s life will make the day extra special.” Dr Aaron Bell, paediatric cardiologist at Evelina London, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Zaki is doing well and Alamgir will be taking part in the London Marathon with us.

“Every member of our team plays a crucial part in caring for our patients so it is very fitting that a cross section of them, from our nurses, consultants to managers, will be running the London Marathon.

“All of our team are really excited about taking part. We have been training together and we did a half marathon with Alamgir in February. “We have received lots of support and encouragement from our patients and we are extremely thankful to them all.”

Evelina London is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The hospital was founded in 1869 as Evelina Hospital for Sick Children by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, whose wife, Evelina, died along with their baby in childbirth.

Dr Bell said: “The Evelina London heart service is internationally recognised for providing outstanding care. We recently opened a new fetal cardiology unit and we are due to open a new cardiology ward for our very ill patients.

“As part of Evelina London’s 150 anniversary year we thought it was really important to show our appreciation for the hospital, which has invested so much in our team, by taking part in the London Marathon.”

The Evelina London cardiology service deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all kinds of children’s heart problems.

The service cares for about 6,000 patients each year.

To find out how Evelina London will be celebrating its special birthday, visit www.evelinalondon.nhs.uk/150.

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