Charity efforts of boy awaiting heart operation nine years after being told his hole had closed

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy who was born with a hole in his heart is facing surgery – nine years after doctors first told his mum it had closed.

Ryan Doughty's mum Tonya was told that the hole had gone when he was three years old, but he is now set for an operation after it was rediscovered.

And this week she spoke of her pride as her only son decided to prepare for surgery at Great Ormond Street by raising money for the London hospital.

When Ryan was born six weeks premature, doctors discovered that he had a heart problem known as ventricular septal defect.

Miss Doughty, of Ingate, Beccles, said it was tough to hear that her baby had this issue, but her friends rallied to help her.

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'I was having a tough time as a single parent. His father had just left while I was pregnant, so I was not in the best of places, but I have got a great network of friends to fall back on,' she said.

'To me he was a normal baby, a perfect little boy and, although it was a tough time as a mum, you just get on with it.'

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Three years later Miss Doughty said that she was 'absolutely ecstatic' when they were told the hole had closed and not to worry about it.

However in November, eight years later, a check-up with a geneticist raised a potential problem for Ryan, who also suffers from dyslexia, dyspraxia, hypermobility and hypersensitivity, and previously had childhood depression.

An appointment was booked and a scan revealed that the hole was still there.

'The second they put it on the screen, I could see that it showed an area that was damaged, even to an untrained eye there was an issue,' said Miss Doughty, 31.

Then this month, on the day of Ryan's 12th birthday, they were told that an operation was needed at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in June.

Miss Doughty said: 'It was just one of those mum moments, when you think the operation has got to happen.

'I do worry about having it but you have to get to the point where you can't worry about things you can't change.'

Ryan, who attends Beccles Middle School, added: 'That was not a nice birthday present from Great Ormond Street.'

Rather than sitting around worrying about the forthcoming operation, Ryan and his mum decided to raise as much money as they could for the hospital as their support has been 'absolutely above and beyond' their expectations.

Miss Doughty said: 'It will cost about �1,000 for me to stay with him, so although we don't have to pay that we thought initially if we could give that back we could help another family go and stay.

'We sat down and had a chat about it and, rather than struggling to come to terms with it, we would focus on raising money.'

Together they started formulating fund-raising ideas under the title Ryan's JustGiving Goal.

Among the forthcoming events are a charity raffle and disco at The Ingate Pub, in Beccles, on Saturday, May 26 from 8pm, and a charity fun day at The Robin Hood, in Mousehold Street, Norwich, on Monday, June 4 from 11am.

Other events being planned are a quiz night at The Wine Vaults, in Beccles, a Zumbathon in Loddon, and Ryan having his head shaved.

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