A mum has expressed her heartfelt thanks to a local children's hospital for saving the life of her baby son by running a marathon fundraising over £6,000.

The cancellation of this year's London Marathon didn't stop local mum Revti Halai from smashing a 26.2 mile run around Welling instead.

Revti's has been raising money for the Evelina London Children's Hospital after medics there gave her baby son life-saving major open heart surgery at just two months old.

Now the Welling mum has said "thank you will never be enough" for the opportunity hospital staff had given her son "to live a long and active life."

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Harikesh Halai was born in January 2019 with a rare heart defect which meant he was immediately reffered to Evelina London.

It was in late 2018 when Revti discovered at her 15-week pregnancy scan that her baby had an atrioventricular septal heart defect (ASVD) which would eventually require major open heart surgery.

Children born with ASVD have holes between the chambers of the right and left sides of the heart, and the valves that control the flow of blood between these chambers may not be formed correctly.

The stress on the heart can cause babies with AVSD to develop signs of heart failure such as rapid breathing, feeding problems, slow weight gain and low energy.

Revti said: “We were expecting Harikesh to have the surgery when he was around six months old, but it was bought forward because his heart was working too hard. The doctor compared his struggle to that of a person trying to run and drink at the same time.”

At just two month’s old, Harikesh had an operation at Evelina London to repair his heart, which took more than five hours.

Revti said: “The first sight of our son following his surgery was a shock, he didn’t look like himself. He was swollen, covered with tubes and connected to numerous machines. The first 24 hours were critical in determining how he would recover. We were helpless and all we could do was wait.”

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The 38-year-old added: “To our amazement, the following day 60% of the tubes he was connected to were removed, and within a couple of days he was moved out of intensive care to the children’s ward.

"My son’s strength is an inspiration to us every day, he has been through so much at such a young age and fought so hard to regain his health.”

A few months after the surgery, Revti signed up for the Virgin Money London Marathon to support Evelina London.

Although the event was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Revti took on the challenge anyway.

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She ran the 26.2 miles around her local area in five hours and nine minutes, and now plans to take part in the iconic London event next year.

The mother-of-two said: “Everyone at Evelina London went above and beyond to look after my boy during surgery and throughout his recovery.

"The operation has given him the opportunity to now live a long and active life. Without these amazing professionals our son’s story would have been a very different one.

“Thank you will never be enough," Revti added.

"The care he and I received, and the aftercare he continues to receive, is second to none.

"He’s now 21 months old and is doing very well, has his own personality and wants to do everything his brother, Keyur, is doing.”

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Dr Vita Zidere, a consultant fetal and paediatric cardiologist at Evelina London who is involved with Harikesh’s care, said: “Our cardiology service cares for around 6,000 children each year, diagnosing and treating all kinds of heart problems.

"Children who have large holes in the heart, such as AVSD, need to have them closed in order to prevent them developing heart failure and secondary lung disease (pulmonary hypertension).

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“We’ll continue to care for Harikesh for many years to come and I’m absolutely delighted that he is doing well, and so grateful to Revti for taking on a marathon to raise funds for Evelina London.”

So far, Revti has raised more than £6,300 for Evelina London. To support her fundraising, please visit here.