Birthday gifts raise £600 for children’s charity

Joe Degnan and his grandfather Billy present Lynn from Children's Heartbeat Trust with a cheque for �637.50.
Joe Degnan and his grandfather Billy present Lynn from Children's Heartbeat Trust with a cheque for �637.50.

A milestone family birthday was marked recently by donations to the Children’s Heartbeat Trust charity instead of gifts.

When grandad Billy Degnan turned 80, his request resulted in the sum of £600 being donated to the charity that has supported his five-year-old grandson Joe.

Race organisers, Stephen, Dale, Laura, Gareth and Hazel are pictured with a cheque for Children's Heartbeat Trust totalling �804.76. Included is Rosie who has been supported by the charity and her brother PJ.

Race organisers, Stephen, Dale, Laura, Gareth and Hazel are pictured with a cheque for Children's Heartbeat Trust totalling �804.76. Included is Rosie who has been supported by the charity and her brother PJ.

Joe was diagnosed before birth with hypoplastic left heart syndrome with double inlet left ventricle.

He was born in August 2013 in Belfast before being flown by air ambulance at only two-days-old to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for surgery.

Since birth, Joe has had three open heart surgeries, one at six-days-old, nine months and more recently, age five.

The family say that they wanted to give something back to a charity that has supported them and hundreds of other families across Northern Ireland.

Lynn Cowan, from Children’s Heartbeat Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Degnan family and friends for their generous donations which will help us to continue to provide support services for local children living with heart disease in Northern Ireland. We are delighted that Joe is keeping well and enjoying P1 with his friends.”

The Children’s Heartbeat Trust works closely with Clark Clinic which is the regional paediatric cardiac ward at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children to help fund medical equipment and initiatives, ensuring that children with heart disease in Northern Ireland receive the best care and treatment possible. It relies solely on donations.

Meanwhile, fell runners who took part in the Knockdhu Christmas fell race have raised £800 in aid of the charity.

One of the organisers Laura Smith’s five -year-old niece Rosie was born with congenital heart disease (CHD) and has also been supported by the Children’s Heartbeat Trust.

The charity helps to support local children and their families living with congenital heart disease (CHD).