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Generous Wolverhampton pupils work to help hospital looking after teacher's daughter

Pupils at a Wolverhampton school have been busy making heart-themed gifts to raise money for the children’s hospital ward that cared for their teacher’s daughter.

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Wilhelmina, Druvika, Henry and Iqra from Wolverhampton Royal School show off some of the gifts they've created

Fran Gray is a teacher at the Royal School, and her three year-old daughter, Darcy, has been treated on Ward 11 and Ward 12 at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for her heart condition.

While Ms Gray was pregnant, Darcy was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome, making her more susceptible to such conditions, and at birth it was found she had Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD) meaning there are holes between the chambers of the right and left sides of the heart.

Darcy has been treated for Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD) at Birmingham Children's Hospital

Ms Gray, from Cannock, said: “My consultant was aware that about 50 per cent of children with Down's Syndrome have heart conditions, so he was looking out for it and then at about 20 weeks he spotted what he thought was a hole in her heart.

“So he referred us to Birmingham Women's Hospital where we saw the cardiology team who were attached to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

"And they confirmed that, yes, she definitely had AVSD and it would require surgery.”

To date, Darcy has had two surgeries, one to repair the holes in her heart and one to treat subaortic stenosis, a narrowing of the area underneath the aortic valve, which was caused by scar tissue from the original surgery.

She will be due a third operation soon to clear the scar tissue which is causing the narrowing to reoccur.

After hearing Darcy’s story and studying the circulatory system in school, pupils in Year Six at the Royal made heart-themed cards, bookmarks and cushions, with the money raised going to Young at Heart, a charity which supports children and families with heart conditions at the Children's Hospital.

Ms Gray said: “They mentioned that they were making the bookmarks and the cushions and things as part of their blood heart topic and that they were going to raise money for a charity, so I mentioned the Young at Heart, which I only found out about after Darcy had her first surgery.

“The charity really helped. It's just nice to know that there's people there who are going through the same thing as you or similar things to you."

One of the students, Iqra, said: “We heard from Miss Gray about Darcy. She said that the charity makes her feel comfortable to talk to other parents about it, so this gave us the idea to make things to raise money for them.”

Year Six teacher, Sarah McMahon, said: “We like to look for an opportunity for the pupils to express their learning at the end of the topic and this represented something the children felt really close to and allowed them to raise money for a charity.

“The children have made all of the cards, bookmarks and hearts themselves, and not one of them has asked to keep their own, they’ve donated them all to the sale, with some even making extras at home."

Find out more about Young at Heart at