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Dublin boy (4) who had first heart operation at just two days old fronts charity campaign

Seán Óg is thriving at school and in life, despite being born with eight different heart conditions.

Sean Og Preston

Esther McCarthySunday World

Little Seán Óg Preston has lots to smile about — the four year old, who underwent his first heart operation at just two days old, is now fronting a campaign for a leading Irish charity.

Seán Óg is thriving at school and in life, despite being born with eight different heart conditions.

Proud mum Sarah-Jane spoke of his delight at spearheading the campaign.

“Oh, he was absolutely over the moon,” she said. “Last year he did it but he was just over his third surgery. This year he was smiling and winking (for the camera) he was just absolutely loving life.

“He’s a happy little four-year-old boy.

"He’ll be starting big school in September and he loves dinosaurs, animals, anything like that. He’s a little brother to a 10-year-old Fíanna and he’s a big brother to Rían who’s two. He loves going to school at Naíonra Chaitlín Maude.”

The Tallaght boy’s progress is all the more remarkable when you realise he was born with a number of life-limiting heart conditions. Seán Óg was born with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, where one side of his heart didn’t develop.

His heart was also located on the right side of his body. Parents Sarah-Jane and Seán first learned this news during their 20-week scan.

Sean Og Preston's photo from the Ireland Heart calendar

“When we found out, they knew it was serious and it was complex, but they didn’t know the extent of it. You’re going in for your scan and it’s exciting, then you’re completely taken aback. But when we met with the cardiologist a couple of weeks later, he was very hopeful.”

When Seán Óg arrived into the world, he was brought straight to Crumlin Children’s Hospital by ambulance with dad Seán following, as Sarah-Jane remained at Holles Street Maternity Hospital. He underwent the first of a three-stage series of surgical procedures when he was just two days old.

His surgeries were successful and Seán Óg is doing very well, though he has to pace his days and take regular breaks.

Sean Og gives a thumb's up

The family were thrilled that he had the opportunity to support the work of Heart Children Ireland by taking part in the calendar shoot this year.

The charity — which receives no Government funding — provides support services, information and events for families of children with heart conditions. They have also funded the provision of life-saving equipment at Irish hospitals.

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