Loughgall schoolboy Lewis Greenaway is one of seven children across Northern Ireland featuring in a heart awareness campaign.
Lewis is just seven but he’s already been through open-heart surgery three times.
Now he is starring in a new national billboard campaign. ‘Ever been heartbroken?’, to raise awareness of congenital heart disease, Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect, and the work of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust.
Lewis’ heart defect, hypoplastic left heart, was detected during his mum Julie’s 20-week scan. He was born in the Royal Maternity Hospital Belfast but immediately had to travel to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for the first of his open heart surgeries.
In 2008 and 2011 he had further surgeries and will need treatment in the future.
Lewis, a pupil at the Cope Primary School, will be appearing on billboards, bus stops, buses and social media over the next few weeks.
The Children’s Heartbeat Trust provides family support and information, fundraising for vital medical equipment for the Clark Clinic at the Royal Hospital and counselling services.
Sarah Quinlan, chief executive, Children’s Heartbeat Trust, said, “Every year 200 babies are born with congenital heart disease which is Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect.
“Like Lewis, they may have to go through serious operations as small children and learn how to live with complex heart defects.”
Lewis’ mum Julie said. “Having your child go through open heart surgery is one of the most shocking and difficult experiences you could have. The support of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust is invaluable.
“They help us cope with the diagnosis as a family and I know as Lewis grows up they will be there to help him learn more about how to live with his condition.”