10-year-old with heart defect gets on Twitter for support
A DETERMINED ten-year-old who has overcome eight heart operations and two strokes wants to raise money for the charity that made his dream come true.
Charlie Large, from Ifield Road, West Green, was born with congenital heart disease (CHD), meaning the different chambers of his heart are the wrong way round. At just 11 days old his heart had to be "re-plumbed" during a 17-hour operation.
His mum, Jan, said: "When he was three days old, I overheard a doctor say he had multiple heart problems.
"It was touch and go and I had it in the back of my mind that he might die."
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Charlie's second operation did not go to plan. His aorta became fused to his sternum and doctors accidentally cut through his aorta trying to separate them.
Then at the age of eight he had a heart and lung transplant. And when he suffered a major stroke in 2009, Charlie had to learn how to walk again.
Despite the relentless challenges, Charlie now wants to make more people aware of his condition.
Mrs Large said: "Charlie is amazing. He has done so well to come back from his stroke and learn to walk and write again."
Charlie is now home schooled by his mum and in between lessons they are busy planning a fundraising event.
Mrs Large said: "CHD is the biggest killer of children in the UK but it is not widely recognised.
"Charlie wants to do something to raise awareness and money."
He will be helping the Make A Wish Foundation, which organises special treats for children who are seriously ill.
The charity sent Charlie to Disneyland Paris and he wants to give another child the same opportunity.
He said: "I want to raise money for Make A Wish because I had a good time in Disneyland. I want to let someone else do it as well."
Charlie and his mum are organising the event at Duo Hair and Beauty in Horsham, run by Charlie's cousins Hayley and Tom Bennion.
A date has not yet been set as Charlie is hoping to find a celebrity who will let him shave their head for charity.
Charlie has set up a Twitter account and has already got a large celebrity following including Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden and EastEnders stars Scott Maslen and Shane Ritchie.
You can follow Charlie by searching @cottagegarden11 on Twitter.