THE parents of a toddler who has undergone five major heart surgeries are urging people to join them on a sponsored walk to help raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.

Chantelle and Samuel Marshall’s daughter Sophia defied all the odds to celebrate her second birthday, and now mum and dad have signed up for Worcester Hearty Walk.

Last year, the walk, which can be done in three or six-mile circular routes, raised over £4,600 – a figure matching the amount of babies born each year with congenital heart disease.

Registration for this year’s walk, which takes place on Sunday, April 15, has now opened.

Mr Marshall, from Wychbold, said, as a family, they have been “living on a knife edge as Sophia fought her way through one crisis after another”.

“By joining in the Hearty Walk and raising sponsorship money we can help support research which could help babies like Sophia born with heart conditions.

“We are calling on anyone who can spare a few hours to join us,” he said.

The walk sets off from Foley’s Café at Worcestershire County Cricket Ground, New Road, Worcester, from 10am.

Those taking part can choose to complete either of the routes, both along flat gravelled paths suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.

Entrants, their children and even their dogs will be encouraged to wear something red with prizes for the best costumes.

Earlier this year, Mrs Marshall told the Worcester News how little Sophia had a cardiac arrest at home at two days old, with doctors surprised she then survived the journey to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Days later, she was strong enough to come off life support, and Mrs Marshall said doctors informed them she had “several very serious and complex cardiac conditions”.

These include complete atrioventricular septal defect (CAVSD), meaning she does not have four chambers in her heart, as well as Left Atrial Isomerism, three large holes in her heart, a moderate size leak in her valve and a right bundle branch block.

Mrs Marshall explained: “The last surgery [of five] was really touch and go, she was so poorly, and her heart was so unpredictable, the odds really were stacked against her.

“We were even asked if we wanted to stop all medical treatment and take her to our local hospice. Yet she continued to fight, so did we.”

She added: “We are really keen to raise awareness for CHD and give hope to other families in a similar boat to us.”

Visit or call 0300 330 3322 for a registration form or just register on the day.

The check in desk opens from 9.15am, with adult advanced entry costing £5 and after that £8. Under 18’s can enter for free.