Little Damien’s memory lives on

Fundraising in memory of 19-day-old Damien Ward are l-r Sarah King, Damien's mum Katie Ward, Jodi Tagg, Wadworth's White Hart landlord Gary Skelhorn, Amanda King, and Georgia King.  Picture: Liz Mockler D2054LM

Fundraising in memory of 19-day-old Damien Ward are l-r Sarah King, Damien's mum Katie Ward, Jodi Tagg, Wadworth's White Hart landlord Gary Skelhorn, Amanda King, and Georgia King. Picture: Liz Mockler D2054LM

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A DEVASTATED mum is raising money to help children with heart problems after her baby boy died at just 19-days-old.

Little Damien Ward lost his brave battle against five heart conditions as doctors tried in vain to keep the Tickhill fighter alive.

His mum Katie Ward now wants to raise vital funds for charities to help boost the research into finding a cure for children with congenital heart disease.

The 29-year-old’s son spent most of his brief life in and out of Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Leeds General Infirmary suffering from a number of conditions including only having half a heart, an irregular heartbeat and a rare defect where his two main arteries leaving his heart were reversed.

Miss Ward wants to help others in a similar situation to hers after discovering heart conditions are common in children.

She said: “It was devastating to be told that he would have heart problems from birth, in that situation you just don’t know what to do.

“I was told they would be able to perform surgery when he was born. He was feeding really well and was growing quickly.

“But gradually everything was too much for him and he spent his last few days in Leeds.

“Each day is very hard, I’ll never stop thinking about Damien.

“It was hard and still is but I’ve made friends through support groups and parents going through similar things to me.

“I found out that one in every 100 or so babies born in the UK would have a heart condition, that’s a devastating amount.”

Miss Ward, of Elm Croft, family and friends have been holding a variety of fundraisers in a bid to make more parents aware of heart defects in youngsters.

So far the group has held a sponsored walk which brought in nearly £650, a race night at Doncaster town centre pub The Staff of Life and is organising a psychic evening this month.

Organisers of the Tickhill Scarecrow Festival have also shown support for the group by raising money for its campaign.

The group is also wanting to be sponsored to spend a few nights at one of the UK’s most haunted sites - Scotland’s Edinburgh Vaults.

The charities it is supporting are the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund in Leeds, national cause Little Hearts Matter and the Amelia Matters organisation set-up in aid of Amelia Hine, a little girl from Wales battling heart problems.

Miss Ward, a sales consultant, said: “By raising money for these charities and raising the awareness, we’re hoping it will help research and show that more can be done to stop so many babies from dying. We want to do everything we can.”

The psychic evening takes place on Sunday, May 27, from 7pm, at the White Hart pub in Main Street, Wadworth. Tickets are £10.

For more on the group’s fundraising in aid of Damien who died on March 17, visit www.justgiving.com/sarah-king11