A mum who had lifesaving heart surgery as a baby will be cheering on her husband who is running the Manchester Marathon for a close cause.

Mel Johnson, 36, who lives in Tottington, was born with a hole in the heart and shortly after she was born her heart stopped beating and she had to be revived by doctors.

Then when she was three months old, she underwent surgery to repair the fault with her heart.

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Mel said: “While I can’t remember anything about the surgery itself, I have always been very grateful to the doctors for saving my life.

“It is a very strange feeling to know that in different circumstances I could so easily not be alive today.”

In a strange quirk of fate, Mel was given the chance to thank her surgeon many years later.

She said: “I was pregnant with our daughter, Lola, who is now eight. Because of my history, the hospital wanted to run tests to see if there might be a similar problem with her heart.

“During the consultation, the doctor realised that he was the one that had performed my surgery all those years ago.

“It was surreal moment. He was totally shocked, and I couldn’t believe it either. It was an amazing coincidence.”

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Inspired by the lifesaving care that she received, Mel’s husband Scott is aiming to complete the 26-mile road run on Sunday, April 14 to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

Scott can be sponsored by clicking here.

He said: “This will be my first ever marathon and I’ve been working hard to fit in training around my job.

“It’s also going to be a big achievement for me as I broke my ankle on Christmas Day in 2022.

“It was a long recovery after my injury so I’m glad to be able to have my strength back and be able to tackle an event like this.”

Mel added: “I’m so proud of Scott and all the training he’s doing. Lola and I will be there on the day to cheer him on with a banner!

“It means a lot to me that the money he’s raising will be used to help doctors and scientists discover new ways to help people born with heart conditions like mine.”

Heart defects are diagnosed in at least one in 150 births in the UK. They are the most common congenital anomaly in babies born in the UK.

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BHF events officer Jas Dhanda said: “Sadly, heart and circulatory disease affects millions of people in the UK.

“However, it’s due to people like Scott, which means we can continue our research and find new treatments to help those affected.

“Mel and Lola must be so proud of Scott and the difference he is making to ensure families stay together for longer.”