Nine-year-old with heart condition completes amazing walking challenge

Thetford nine-year-old George Cooke, who has a rare heart condition, walked 10,000 steps every day in February to support...

Thetford nine-year-old George Cooke, who has a rare heart condition, walked 10,000 steps every day in February to support the British Heart Foundation - Credit: British Heart Foundation

A nine-year-old who suffers with a dangerous heart condition has bravely conquered a month-long walking challenge for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

George Cooke walked at least 10,000 steps every day in February in support of the charity, alongside his mum, Ursula, and the family dog, Bob. 

George Cooke, 9, from Thetford, had a heart operation when he was just seven months old

George Cooke, 9, from Thetford, had a heart operation when he was just seven months old - Credit: British Heart Foundation

The youngster, from Thetford, was born with tetralogy of fallot, a condition which means that his heart has structural abnormalities which prevent it from working normally.

He underwent surgery on his heart at just seven months old, and had a bone graft on his spine when he was only two. 

It is likely he will need further operations on his heart and spine in the future. 


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“We were told George had a heart problem at my 20-week scan," his mother explained. 

"I was referred to Guy’s and St Thomas’ for a special 3D scan, but because of the way George was lying they couldn’t diagnose the heart condition.

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“During the pregnancy we also learnt that George had something wrong with his spine. It was a very worrying time. I had to see lots of different consultants and there was so much uncertainty to deal with."

Thetford youngster George Cooke, 9, has a rare heart condition called tetralogy of fallot

Thetford youngster George Cooke, 9, has a rare heart condition called tetralogy of fallot - Credit: British Heart Foundation

Despite his health problems, George has grown into an active young man and is a keen footballer, playing as a goalkeeper at the Norwich City regional development programme.

And, earlier this year, he decided to take on a walking challenge to support the BHF during national heart month, the charity’s annual fundraising and awareness campaign.

To reach his daily target, George took his three-year-old Border Terrier, Bob, out twice a day for a long walk. 

In an odd quirk of fate, his canine companion also has a heart condition after a vet diagnosed him with a heart murmur.

“I wanted to do this challenge because the BHF is a very good cause that people should donate to so they can help save lives," said George, who lives at Kingsfleet.

“It’s been quite easy to do my steps. We go for a massive walk when we take Bob out.

"I bring my football so I can kick it about. I have been getting some aches in my legs recently and I think that’s from all the walking."

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/ursula-waple.


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