A one-year-old tot has raised over £1,400 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity after walking three miles over eight days to celebrate the one year anniversary of her life saving open-heart surgery.

Starting on her first birthday, Ruby Hartley, from Stoke-on-Trent, had her toddling tracked by mum and dad, Rochelle and Ross, with the aim of reaching the three-mile mark before her ‘heartiversary’ – one year to the day that she had her first heart operation.

When Ruby was born, doctors picked up on what they thought was a relatively harmless heart murmur, but two days later an echocardiogram showed something much more serious. Little Ruby had Aortic Stenosis, a congenital heart defect which hadn’t shown up on mum, Rochelle’s scans.

Straight away, Ruby was transferred from her local hospital to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and, at just eight-days-old, Rochelle carried her into theatre, leaving her baby in the surgeons’ hands.

After a gruelling six-hour wait Rochelle and Ross felt relief wash over them as they heard that their tiny baby, Ruby, was out of theatre and recovering well on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

10 days after her operation, Ruby was allowed home for the first time but, unfortunately, a couple of months later, a check-up showed that her condition was deteriorating and that she would need another operation to fix her heart. It was another blow for the family, but thankfully, after her second surgery, Ruby recovered much better.

A few months down the line, and now at the age of one, she is meeting all of her developmental milestones, including taking her first little steps. As well as celebrating Ruby’s birthday and ‘heartiversary,’ Rochelle and Ross wanted to use the special occasion to say thank you to the hospital’s fantastic staff, for the wonderful care they all received at such a scary time in their lives.

Rochelle said: “Nothing can prepare you for leaving your baby’s life in the hands of surgeons, but I knew Ruby was in the very best care and the support Ross and I received from staff during that time was second to none – we’re just so grateful.

“Now that Ruby is learning to walk, we thought we’d see if she could complete a little challenge to help raise money for the hospital. She’s done so well and we’re over the moon with how much we’ve managed to raise to say thank you for saving our little girl.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “‘Heartiversaries’ are a special celebration for many of our brave patients and we’re so grateful that Ruby and her mum and dad have used hers to help raise vital funds for our hospital.

“Ruby is a little fighter, and she’s raised an incredible amount with her brave challenge – money that will go on to help us do more for other sick kids, just like her.”