News Staff May 6, 2018

When she was just three weeks old Darcy collapsed in my arms and had to be resuscitated. It was terrifying, but thankfully we were already at Ulster Hospital when it happened. I had known there was something wrong with my baby – call it a mother’s instinct – and, against the midwife’s advice, I had taken her to my local A&E.

Our story would have been a very different had we not already been at the hospital when Darcy stopped breathing and that is a thought that has haunted me ever since.

Once Darcy was stable, we were immediately rushed to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children with a police escort. Darcy underwent all sorts of tests in order to try to determine why she had suddenly stopped breathing. It was incredibly scary to know there was something wrong with her and in that situation I think one’s default position is to fear the worst. Darcy was diagnosed with cardiac dysrhythmia, which is an abnormal heartbeat. An ECG scan had revealed she had tachycardia, which meant her heart was beating life-threateningly fast.

From that point onwards Darcy, who is almost 14, has been under the care of a fantastic consultant paediatric cardiologist, Dr Brian Craig. With regular check-ups throughout her life and copious amounts of medication Darcy has been, for the most part, very well. As a child she had a few hospital admissions when things flared up, but on the whole the medication she took kept her condition under control and she lived a relatively normal life.