Dinnington youngster runs for her brother

Avril Symms, four took part in a fun run in Leeds to raise money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, based at Leeds General Hospital where Avril's brother Zander was treated.  Avril Symms, four shows off her medals for completing the fun run (w120515-9c)
Avril Symms, four took part in a fun run in Leeds to raise money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, based at Leeds General Hospital where Avril's brother Zander was treated. Avril Symms, four shows off her medals for completing the fun run (w120515-9c)

A DINNINGTON youngster has shown that you are never too young to start fundraising.

Avril Symms took part in a sponsored fun run to raise money for the heart unit which saved her younger brother.

Avril Symms, four took part in a fun run in Leeds to raise money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, based at Leeds General Hospital where Avril's brother Zander was treated.  Avril Symms, four with Mum Cassie and brother Zander shows off her medals for completing the fun run (w120515-9a)

Avril Symms, four took part in a fun run in Leeds to raise money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, based at Leeds General Hospital where Avril's brother Zander was treated. Avril Symms, four with Mum Cassie and brother Zander shows off her medals for completing the fun run (w120515-9a)

The four-year-old has raised almost £500 for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, based in the children’s heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

Avril, and her mum Cassie, completed the 1.5km Arena Group Mini Run in Leeds in 14 minutes and 17 seconds.

And this week she proudly showed of her medal with the help of her younger brother Zander.

Cassie, of Clarence Street, said: “I am so very proud of her. Both me and her daddy Daniel are.”

“She did amazingly, ran most of the way and wanted to run at end through finish line. She did in 14 minute, 17 seconds.”

“She was so excited to do for her brother and his heart friends. She is a brilliant big sister.”

“She is now over £510 on sponsors with some still trailing in.”

Zander was born with a hole in his heart and had life saving surgery at the Leeds unit - just weeks before his first birthday.

The vital charity enhances patient facilities and support, provides the latest medical equipment and funds world renowned research dedicated to babies, children and teenagers with heart defects.

The unit is under threat of closure in an NHS shake-up and hundreds of families have joined a campaign to keep it open.

The initial review presumed that if the Leeds unit was closed patients would travel to Newcastle.

However, a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers revealed people in Yorkshire said they would choose to travel to Liverpool or Birmingham instead.

Cassie visits the unit every three months with Zander for pacemaker checks. He will need replacements every few years as well as regular checks on his heart.

Avril got her fundrasing spirit from her mum, who jumped out of a plane with her sister Vickie Poskitt last year and raised more than £1,000 for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

A decision on the heart unit in Leeds will be made on 4th July.

It comes after the London’s Royal Brompton Hospital, which has also had its children’s heart unit threatened with closure, challenged the way consultation was carried out by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts.

The Court of Appeal has now ruled the consultation was lawful, meaning the fate of all the threatened units - including the Leeds heart unit, will be decided in July.

To find out more about the work of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund visit www.chsf.org.uk.