Heart op teenager is back on pitch

A KEEN young footballer is today back on the pitch just three weeks after having a heart operation.Ben Dunne's family were stunned when the fit and sporty 14-year-old collapsed with a life-threatening heart condition at the end of a football match.

A KEEN young footballer is today back on the pitch just three weeks after having a heart operation.

Ben Dunne's family were stunned when the fit and sporty 14-year-old collapsed with a life-threatening heart condition at the end of a football match.

But his condition took six weeks to detect because the youngster had to wait for the use of a heart monitor at Ipswich Hospital.

And after hearing his story a landlord and landlady at a Suffolk pub raised £2,000 in just one month to buy another of the vital machines for the hospital which can detect serious heart conditions within 24 hours.

Ben of Broom Knoll, East Bergholt had been playing for the under 15s Brantham football team in November when he had to be rushed to hospital and was eventually diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, a rare condition that can cause the heart to beat at an abnormal rate.

He said: “I was playing football and about ten or 15 minutes after the match had ended my heart was beating really fast, I told my dad and he took me straight to the hospital.

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“The NHS have been fantastic, they've been really supportive and given us lots of information.”

Ben had been active and healthy since birth and his heart condition came as a real shock to his father, Declan Dunne.

He said: “He's been a picture of health since the day he was born. He has always enjoyed playing football and rugby and he would be the last person you would ear mark to get something like this.”

The vital surgery needed to correct Ben's condition was extremely complex and was made more difficult because Ipswich Hospital did not have the vital equipment necessary to properly detect the heart defect.

But the funds raised by Tony and Jennifer Raymond of the Royal Oak in East Bergholt has now paid for a brand new heart monitor.

Mrs Raymond said: “It's unusual for a young boy to need any kind of treatment for a heart condition and he had to wait six weeks to get on to the machine to monitor his heart and when we realised that the hospital had only two other machines we wanted to do something about it.”

Ben's family was delighted that the pub had raised the money. Mr Dunne said: “They were wonderful, it took me totally by surprise. It's a very warm and generous pub and now lots of others will benefit from it.”

Ben had a successful operation to cure him of his potentially fatal condition on March 9 and was back in school on the following Monday morning.

He said: “Now I feel perfectly fine and back to normal.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich hospital said: “The generosity of our community constantly delights us.”

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW) is an electrical defect of the heart due to an abnormal pathway.

The pathway, known as 'bundle of Kent', can affect how the heart pumps, causing rapid or abnormal heartbeats.

The syndrome is extremely rare with only 0.1 to 3% of the general population suffering from the condition.

The vast majority with WPW experience no symptoms but there is a small risk of sudden death although

less than one per cent of people with the condition die.

WPW can be treated with medicines or using a procedure known as radiofrequency ablation, where the electrical pathway is removed.

Ben's factfile

Ben plays as goalkeeper for Brantham Under 15's

He supports Ipswich Town football

He wants to be an officer in the army and plans to study at Welbeck College

A sports fanatic he not only plays football but rugby and cricket as well.

He goes to St Benedict's College in Colchester

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