Birthday joy for a little miracle

Published: May 1, 2007 | 6150th good news item since 2003

THE parents of little Star Regan were today celebrating her first birthday – one they feared she would never see.

She was born with a back-to-front heart and within hours of arriving into the world was taken to the intensive care unit of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

At the age of just ten days, she underwent a major nine-hour operation. But she fought her way through… and today she was opening a huge pile of presents with the help of mum Philippa Iliff and dad Stephen Regan.

Miss Iliff, aged 21, of Beverley Road, Heaton, said: “It’s a huge milestone and a relief.

“We are so proud she has made it this far after everything she has been through.

“With Star getting to her first birthday, we feel like she has made it, and it’s onwards and upwards from here.

“There are bad memories from this time last year but the last 12 months have brought so much happiness.”

When Star was born at the Royal Bolton Hospital, her heart, arteries and veins were the wrong way round, so her blood was not being pumped with oxygen from her lungs.

Just two hours later – without being held or even seen by her mother – she was taken to Alder Hey.

Star’s operation involved doctors carrying out a switch procedure, in which a team of surgeons transferred her veins and arteries to the correct place.

Miss Illif did not see her daughter for the first two days of her life because she had to be kept in the Royal Bolton after having a Caesarean.

Four weeks after her life-saving surgery, little Star – named because her parents wanted her to know how special she was – was discharged and allowed to go home.

Miss Illif said: “She has an amazing personality and she is so quick to pick things up, probably more so than other kids of her age because of everything she has been through. She is walking already and she looks at you as if to say, yeah, what’s the big deal?'”

Miss Iliff, who owned Scowcroft’s Baby Clothes in Bolton Market Hall, and Mr Regan, a salesman for npower, have since been fundraising for the two hospitals that treated Star as a thankyou.

Published in Life
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