A little 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 CHRISTMAS CARDS.
Five-year-old Isabell Tipper suffers from four 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 last year she almost died when she got upset.
Mum Kimberley, 27, and her fiance Ian Salat, 38, who live in Walsall, West Mids., appealed for strangers to send Isabell birthday cards in May to keep her alive.
After receiving over 2,000 messages from well-wishers, Kimberley has appealed once more to strangers to send her poorly daughter Christmas cards.
She said: “Isabell was so happy and excited when she saw all her birthday cards from her appeal in June.
“Every day for a few months she had cards to open because she had that many.
“It helped her to focus on something else rather than her illness.
“She is a little girl and shouldn’t have to worry about how her heart condition is affecting her.
“We decided to do the card appeal as it is the last time we will be doing it and why not do it for Christmas?
“If she was to wake up on Christmas Day to find the same all over again as her birthday she would be very surprised as we haven’t told her we’re doing it this time.”
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 in May medics told Isabell’s parents they had to wait for Isabell to “deteriorate more” until they could giver her a life-saving pulmonary artery transplant.
Mum-of-four Kimberley said at the time: “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.
“If they had done that with Isabell we wouldn’t be in this situation. She’s too old to have that now though.”
Launching the Christmas card appeal on Facebook, Kimberley said: “Christmas is just around the corner and with how well Isabell’s birthday card drive went we are doing a Christmas card drive too.
“This post is for people who want to send Isabell a Christmas card! A simple card bring so much excitement and joy to her!
“She loves to open happy mail and loves me to read the cards to her. She has no idea I’ve done this post like her birthday one so let’s surprise her.
“As many of you know Isabell has a severe heart defect and had open heart surgery at eight months old.
“We have been told she will need surgery again.”
If you would like to send Isabell a card then post it to Isabell’s grandparents home, which is: 2 Howes Croft, Castle Vale, Birmingham, B35 7EL.