A girl with a rare condition that means she could die if she gets upset has appealed for strangers to keep her happy – by sending her BIRTHDAY CARDS.
Isabell Tipper, four, suffers from life-threatening Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) that mean if she gets sad her heart becomes starved of oxygen.
She had excessive fat and muscle around her pulmonary artery from birth that mean she goes “floppy” and her nose, lips, fingers and toenails turn blue.
Isabell had open-heart surgery at six months old, but the fat has grown back and in November last year she almost died when she got upset.
Now her mum, Kimberley, 27, and her mum’s fiance Ian Salat, 38, have appealed to strangers to send Isabell birthday cards to keep her smiling.
Kimberley, of Walsall, West Mids., said: “Isabell has always loves getting mail.
“So when we read about a poorly little girl in America who asked for strangers to send her post we thought it would be perfect.
“She turns five on June 30 and we’ve already had eight cards through. She’s not allowed to open them yet, but she’s very excited.
“We need all the help we can get and we want to make this birthday extra special for her.
“If she doesn’t stay happy it could potentially kill her.
“When she cries she doesn’t breath fully, and because her heart is so weak that’s enough to starve her of oxygen.
“She goes floppy and her lips, the tip of her nose and her finger and toenails start turning blue.
“It’s horrible, it’s like she’s no longer with us when it happens.
“Thankfully we have always managed to calm her down.”
Congenital Heart Defects stem from a mutation of chromosomes in the womb.
Isabell was misdiagnosed at Walsall Manor Hospital at birth, and the illness was only identified six weeks later at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, West Mids.
She underwent emergency open-heart surgery at six months old where the excess fat and muscle was cut from her pulmonary artery.
But astonishingly, now it has grown back medics have said they must wait for Isabell to “deteriorate more” until they can give her a life-saving pulmonary artery transplant.
Mum-of-four Kimberley said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking. They are asking us to watch her get worse in front of us.
“When she was first born she was blue and really cold, but doctors just said she had a low temperature and sent her home.
“Six weeks later we were told she actually had Congenital Heart Defects, which can easily be detected before birth.
“What is incredibly upsetting is that the surgery they performed on her when she was six months old was only temporary.
“We’ve now spoken to other parents of children with CHD who say they had the fat and muscle cut off and then pinned back in one operation when they were little.
“We know it will never be fixed, though.
“We just have to keep her happy for now, so we really hope lots of people send her cards.”
If you would like to send Isabell a card then post it to 2 Howes Croft, Castle Vale, Birmingham, B35 7EL.