Brave Sam marks first birthday after surgery

One year old Samuel Cardwell with his mum Louise Cardwell.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham D0739MB
One year old Samuel Cardwell with his mum Louise Cardwell. Picture: Malcolm Billingham D0739MB

A LITTLE boy who was told he had a 50/50 chance of survival following open heart surgery, has celebrated his first birthday.

Doctors said Samuel Cardwell would not live without surgery for congenital heart disease and was given little hope of coming through the gruelling operation when he was just days old.

Despite his lung collapsing, brave Samuel survived the surgery and enjoyed a celebration on Sunday to mark his first birthday.

Mum Louise, 23, of Repton Road in Skellow, said: “It’s every parent’s nightmare to see what Sam had to go through, it was so scary and devastating. Our lives were turned upside down.

“We didn’t know about his condition until he was born. I had him at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and the next day he was put back into a womb state, his umbilical cord was connected to machines and he was put to sleep and taken to the children’s cardiac intensive care unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

“The day of his surgery was a total daze.

“We rushed to see Sam when we were told the operation had finished but never in a million years did I expect what I was going to see. Our little baby was all swollen, he was on a full breathing ventilator.

“After the surgery his right lung collapsed and so we went back to theatre but he eventually made it through.”

Samuel, who also has a three-year-old sister Hollie, was surrounded by family and friends for his birthday party held at Bullcroft Memorial Hall in Carcroft, with activities including a bouncy castle, raffle, stalls and face-painting.

His party also raised over £1,000 for the Leeds-based Children’s Heart Surgery Fund which could be closed under a Government review.

“It was absolutely brilliant to celebrate his first birthday, he is just an amazing little boy,” said Louise, Sam’s full-time carer.

“We’re so pleased with how much we’ve raised. Without the staff at Leeds and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund we wouldn’t have Sam here today. They were truly amazing and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done to keep my son alive.”