Toddler born with heart defects climbs stairs 125 times for charity

Phineas Bennett, a toddler from Long Stratton, is one out of 125 children in the UK who are born with a heart defect. He...

Phineas Bennett, a toddler from Long Stratton, is one out of 125 children in the UK who are born with a heart defect. He is climbing his stairs 125 times to raise money for Tiny Tickers charity. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

A ‘determined’ toddler who was born with congenital heart disease is climbing his stairs 125 times, as his family hopes to raise awareness about his condition. 

Phineas Bennett, from Long Stratton, is one out of 125 children in the UK who are born with a serious heart condition. 

Phineas Bennett (left) with his twin sister Hope. Phineas was born with congenital heart disease.

Phineas Bennett (left) with his twin sister Hope. Phineas was born with congenital heart disease. - Credit: Verity Bennett

Born on May 14 in 2019, at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, Phineas, who is also a twin,  was discovered to have six heart defects including a missing pulmonary artery and holes in his heart.

Now at 20-months-old, Phineas has already had four major surgeries.

But his mother Verity Bennett said if it hadn't of been for the early scans which detected his  condition and help from Great Ormond Street hospital, her son may not have survived.

Phineas Bennett was born with congenital heart disease.

Phineas Bennett was born with congenital heart disease. - Credit: Verity Bennett

The 41-year-old said: “Phineas was born with an incredibly complex heart. 

“If the sonographer hadn’t picked up on his defects at our 20-week scan there is a chance he may not have survived long after birth.  

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“He spent his first 8 weeks in Great Ormond Street where the surgeons worked their magic and he came home in July. 

“But when he was three months, he was rushed back into hospital to be put on life support because his heart wasn’t working properly.  

“That was horrific to deal with. It was life and death. He had more surgery and luckily they were able to find what was causing the problem and fix it.

Verity Bennett with her son Phineas Bennett at their home in Long Stratton

Verity Bennett with her son Phineas Bennett at their home in Long Stratton - Credit: Neil Didsbury

“In the first 7 months he had four heart procedures including two open heart surgeries and he will need more as he gets older too. 

“To think what he has been through, it has been quite incredible and very tough. But we have just got on with it and dealt with it as it comes.” 

Phineas Bennett, a toddler from Long Stratton, is one out of 125 children in the UK who are born with a heart defect. He...

Phineas Bennett, a toddler from Long Stratton, is one out of 125 children in the UK who are born with a heart defect. He is climbing his stairs 125 times to raise money for Tiny Tickers charity. - Credit: Verity Bennett

Despite his condition, Mrs Bennett said Phineas is a happy and "determined" toddler.

This week he will be climbing his stairs 125 times to raise money for the charity Tiny Tickers, whose work helps to improve the early detection and care of babies with serious heart conditions. 

This comes during the charities ‘Heart Week’ to help raise awareness of congenital heart disease (CHD). 

As little as £10 can provide one family with materials and advice about facing a diagnosis of CHD and what to expect when their baby has open heart surgery and £50 can train one sonographer to be able to detect heart conditions during pregnancy scans. 

Mrs Bennett added: “1 in 125 babies are born with a heart defect in the UK which is why he is climbing the stairs 125 times, it may not sound a lot but for a heart child it is a big feat. 

“He is being supported by his twin sister Hope and his older brothers Isaac and Asher. 

Verity Bennett with her sons Isaac Bennett 8 (left), Asher Bennett 4 (right), and twins Phineas and Hope (front), at their...

Verity Bennett with her sons Isaac Bennett 8 (left), Asher Bennett 4 (right), and twins Phineas and Hope (front), at their home in Long Stratton. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

“Phineas is very special to all of us. We are very grateful for the help that we had and that he is still with us.” 

To donate his justgiving page here, https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Verity-Bennett 

Phineas Bennett will be climbing his stairs at home 125 times, to raise money for the charity Tiny Tickers.

Phineas Bennett will be climbing his stairs at home 125 times, to raise money for the charity Tiny Tickers. - Credit: Verity Bennett