Heart hero Summer inspires Alnwick school to put best foot forward

A schoolgirl who has already undergone two heart transplants has inspired her classmates to help the charity that helped her on her journey back to health.

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 4:00 pm

Summer Carss, a Year 5 pupil at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Alnwick, decided to share the story of how she recovered from being born with a heart condition in a Powerpoint presentation to the rest of the school.

Afterwards, the whole school – along with Summer and members of her family - took part in a fun run to see how many laps of the school grounds they could do in 15 minutes.

In doing so they raised a fantastic £4,020 for CHUF, the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

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Summer, pictured in the red hoodie, with her classmates on the fun run.

“The story Summer told us is absolutely remarkable,” said the school’s head teacher Eileen Lomax.

“She underwent two heart transplants in just over a year, and still has to go for check-ups every eight weeks, and we were all amazed when she explained all that she had been through, which is why we decided to do our bit to help the people who had helped her.”

Some entered into the spirit of the day by donning fancy dress, and a first aider was on hand to explain to parents the importance of CPR and defibrillators.

“My heart is working well now,” said Summer. “It is nearly 10 years since I had my first transplant and every transplant anniversary, which I call my Happy Heart Day, I light a candle for both of my donors and their families.

Summer leads the way on the fundraising challenge.

“CHUF helps Heart Heroes like me and their families,” she explained. “They funded the building of the playroom I used when I was in hospital, and they still help me now, and have purchased an Accuvein machine which helps with my blood tests when I go to the clinic. The money we raised will help children like me.”

Summer was diagnosed at three months old with aortic stenosis, a condition which meant the valve on the left side of her heart did not open properly.

In January 2012, she suffered cardiac arrest and was put on the organ transplant list. At first Summer responded well to her new heart but after a year it began to fail. Three months later she received another new heart.

Summer and her family at the fundraiser.