Heart surgery girl to start city’s Santa Jog

A BRAVE four-year-old who underwent major heart surgery only four months ago is set to officially start this year’s Santa Jog in Sheffield.

Doctors discovered that Libby Freestone, from Cantley in Doncaster, had been born with two holes in her heart and a faulty valve when she was just three weeks old.

Her parents, John and Cheryl Freestone, then had to come to terms with the fact that their daughter would one day require major open heart surgery.

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That day arrived in June this year and Libby underwent surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.

Despite an early wound infection, she is now recovering well.

Mr Freestone, 33, said: “It was terrible to see our little girl lying there after major surgery, but the feeling was mixed with unbelievable joy that she had come through and was okay.

“Libby is getting back to being a normal four-year-old. She’s very compassionate and a real people person.”

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Mrs Freestone added: “Her energy levels have always been high, but we have noticed a massive difference since the operation.”

The family are keen supporters of the British Heart Foundation, which organises the one-mile Santa Jog in Sheffield every year.

Each year the Freestones take part and Libby, who started the race two years ago, has been asked to do so again.

This time, however, her 18-month-old sister Jasmine will also be there for the event.

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Mrs Freestone, 32, said: “We’ve kind of been on autopilot for the last three years and have remained strong for Libby.

“It’s only afterwards that it hits you. It makes you realise what’s important in life and puts things into perspective.”

The Santa Jog takes place on Sunday, December 11. For further details call 01623 624558.