THE parents of a brave South Tyneside boy are hoping to shower him with praise – and an award.
Little Charlie Haynes has been nominated for Child of Courage in this year’s Pride of South Tyneside.
The three-year-old was put forward for the accolade, sponsored by South Shields-based Harlow Printing, by his mum, Abigail.
She said: “Charlie has been a super brave little man. He’s just turned three and has had two open heart surgeries and will need at least one more in the near future.
“Due to his condition, he’s also developed complications that means he has to travel to Leeds every three months for a special operation on his oesophagus.
“Despite this, he is the happiest little dude, he loves helping with his little sister, goes to nursery every day and has helped raise a lot of money for the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation as a thank-you to the place that saved his life.”
Charlie, who lives with his mum, dad John Marnie, and 23-month-old sister Daisy Haynes, in Leafield Crescent, South Shields, was born with a hole in his heart. An operation to repair the hole left other complications, including a blocked aorta.
Charlie, who goes to Horsley Hill Children’s Centre every afternoon, also has varicose veins in and around his oesophagus which require special treatment in Leeds every three months.
The family have so far raised about £1,500 for the heart unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, by organising quiz nights, coffee mornings, bake sales, and selling charity wristbands.
Dad John, a carer for Charlie, said: “Charlie copes with everything surprisingly well.
“You would never know there was anything the matter with him because he’s so happy all of the time and he just deals with it so well.
“He’s due another heart operation some time in the next year and we just want to show him how proud we are of him.
“He’s amazing, and he’s just so tough.
“He’s never scared about going into hospital and he just gets on with everything. He loves looking after his little sister too and he’s always playing with her. He’s just brilliant.”