THE grieving parents of a Bromsgrove baby who died just 32 days after being born are turning to the beautiful game to help others.

Millie Hope Chandler was born in October last year, four months after mum Sam and dad Steve, originally from Redditch, had been told she had a congenital heart defect (CHD).

Six-hour open heart surgery on arteries that were the wrong way around 12 days after Millie was born initially proved a success but she contracted E coli and later died due to sepsis causing irreparable damage to her tiny lungs.

However, Sam, Steve, four-year-old big sister Evie and close family and friends have battled through the devastation to form Hope for Hearts FC in memory of Millie.

Redditch Advertiser:

Sam said: "At my 20-week scan the sonographer noticed irregular patterns with Millie’s heart.

“We were sent for investigations at both Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Birmingham Women's Hospital and on June 1 we received the heartbreaking diagnosis that our baby had a CHD known as transposition of the great arteries.

“The two main arteries to and from her heart were the wrong way round. For our baby it meant that when she was born, oxygenated blood wouldn't circulate her body properly. We were told our baby would need open heart surgery. We were devastated.

“Surgery was a success but Millie became incredibly poorly very quickly.

“At the paediatric intensive care unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, doctors and nurses fought day and night to stabilise our daughter but Millie suffered a cardiac arrest and was placed on a life support machine.

“Unfortunately, Millie had contracted E coli in the blood and our beautiful baby girl passed away in her mommy's arms, on Monday, November 2 at 2:11am.

“We are heartbroken but so thankful for the love and support shown to us by so many, at such a difficult time."

Determined to do something positive family and friends rallied round and formed Hope for Hearts FC, starting out in a local six-a-side league and the burgeoning team will take to the field in an 11-a-side match for the first time on Sunday.

Redditch Advertiser:

Raising money for Tiny Tickers, a national charity that improves the early detection and care of babies with serious heart conditions, the team tackles a side that raises funds for Birmingham Mind in a joint venture hosted by Redditch Borough Football Club, Cherry Tree Walk, Redditch.

Kick-off is at 4pm but the afternoon of fun begins at 2.30 with inflatables, face painting, a raffle, sweets, cakes, music and more. Admission is £1 and all funds go to the two charities.

Redditch Advertiser:

Sam added: “Tiny Tickers do so much great work, they help to train sonographers around the country whilst also supporting families going through the worst of times with their babies.

“They continue to support us as a family, even after losing Millie. This is why we are so keen to support them and Hope 4 Hearts FC is just one of the ways we can do this.

“By taking part in charity days we can raise awareness and fundraise for charities that need our help and support, and we owe so much to Tiny Tickers.”

It is not the only initiative the Chandlers are taking part in with a team of eight, including Steve, taking on the Three Peaks Challenge – climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – to raise more funds.

You can support the cause via Steve’s Just Giving page: