A seven-year-old girl from Telford has braved the chop by cutting off her long hair and raising over £700 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity after receiving a life-saving operation there, when she was five-months-old.

When Laura Selby was born she was discharged from hospital without a hitch, but when she reached eight-weeks-old, her mum, Claire, noticed that Laura’s weight had plateaued and she wasn’t getting any bigger. Worried, Claire and her partner, Andrew, took Laura to their local hospital where further examinations showed that Laura shockingly had several congenital heart defects.

A visiting paediatrician from Birmingham Children’s Hospital had been at the local hospital when Claire and Andrew attended with Laura, and was able to diagnose her with a full Atrial Septal Defect and a partial Ventricular Septal Defect which meant that she had holes in the walls that divide the chambers of the heart. She was also found to have Mitral Valve Regurgitation, where one of the valves in her heart was allowing blood to flow the wrong way.

Doctors put Laura on a special high-calorie diet in the hope that she would gain weight and become stronger, so she wouldn’t have to have surgery until she was older. Unfortunately, Laura didn’t get any better, so she was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where she underwent urgent open-heart surgery to close the holes and save her life.

From the moment Laura came around from her operation, Claire instantly saw how much better she was – Laura was a healthy colour and started gaining weight. After just two weeks on the hospital’s cardiac ward she was allowed to go home where she thrived. Seven years later, a healthy little Laura watched a family friend cut her hair short for charity and boldly asked her mum to let her do the same for the Children’s Hospital who saved her life.

With the help from Claire’s hairdresser friend Clara, Laura took the plunge and watched as her luscious waist-length locks were snipped into a neat bob. Her hair was then donated to the Little Princess Trust, to make real hair wigs for children and young people with hair loss, whilst the £700 sponsorship money she raised went to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Claire said: “We will never forget everything Birmingham Children’s Hospital did for us. It was such a distressing time for the whole family, but we knew that Laura was in safe hands and here she is all these years later, full of life.

“I’m so proud of Laura for wanting to do something for the other poorly kids at the hospital. She loved her long hair, so was a little bit worried about how she’d look, but her sisters Hannah and Ella were there to cheer her on and she loves her short hair now!.”

Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Our fundraisers are getting younger and younger and we’re so amazed by them! Laura is such an inspiring little girl and we’re in awe of her bravery and determination to do something to help other children like her. The money Laura raised will help us do more for the 90,000 sick kids we treat at our hospital every year.”