When I was 3 years old, my GP noticed that I had a heart murmur. I underwent further investigation which led to a diagnosis of aortic stenosis picked up by Dr. Rigby. Then, I underwent regular check-ups at my local hospital for many years.

I never felt or looked unwell and didn't suffer from any breathlessness, in fact, I loved sport. In my last year at primary school, I was the sports captain. I had just run in the trials for the 200m before my Mum took me to the hospital for my regular check-up only to be told that I could not compete in sports day as my condition had deteriorated and I would require open heart surgery.

So, in November 1984 I had my first round of open-heart surgery at Royal Brompton to repair my faulty aortic value. Instead of the usual cut straight down the chest I was opened across the chest as it was thought that the scar would be hidden as my chest developed through puberty but it was quite painful and has affected my posture ever since.

 This was followed by annual check-ups in outpatient care, under the watchful eyes of Dr Shinbourne and Dr Aldershaw for the next 16 years until my aortic valve needed to be replaced altogether.

In January 2002, I was back at Royal Brompton for my second round of open heart surgery. This time, the surgeon Mr Shore performed the Ross Procedure which involved replacing my aortic valve with my pulmonary valve and replacing my pulmonary valve with a donated valve. Due to other complications, I was in the hospital for over 2 weeks but the procedure was a success. This time the incision was made straight down so I now have a lovely big cross on my chest.

Today, I do not have to take any medication. I lead a normal and active life and I was fortunate enough to go on to have a wonderful daughter without any complications.

I now return to outpatient care every other year. Although my pulmonary valve isn't a perfect fit and has some leakage, my aortic valve is performing very well and should last me a lifetime.

Without the treatment that I received at Royal Brompton my life would not be as it is today and I am truly grateful for that.