Knebworth sisters give up having Christmas presents to raise money for GOSH

James Young with his daughters Kitti and Lelu. Picture: James Young

James Young with his daughters Kitti and Lelu. Picture: James Young - Credit: Archant

Two sisters – just nine and 10 years old – have decided to give up having Christmas presents this year and ask people, instead, to help raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Lelu weighed just 1lb 8oz when she was born. Picture: Louise Young

Lelu weighed just 1lb 8oz when she was born. Picture: Louise Young - Credit: Archant

James Young, who is managing director of Aston Microphones in Hitchin, explained: “My daughters Lelu and Kitti asked me if they could give up their Christmas presents this year in return for me helping them to raise money for GOSH. I couldn’t really say no to that.

“So we’re going to go to GOSH on Christmas Day, instead of opening the usual pile of expendable presents, and donate the money raised.”

GOSH holds a special place in the hearts of the family – who live in Knebworth – after Lelu’s life was saved by doctors there when she was 18 months old.

Lelu was born three months premature in September 2008, weighing just 1lb and 8oz.

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After 18 months fighting pulmonary hypertension – being permanently on oxygen, and having her heart and O2 saturation levels monitored 24/7 – she was finally strong enough for heart surgery at GOSH.

James said: “The surgeons performed a miracle – closing a 1cm diameter hole, which was about 20 per cent of the heart wall at that point, in three-and-a-half hours of keyhole surgery.

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“You’d never guess any of this today, and at 10 years old Lelu is healthy, happy and strong.

“Now, she and Kitti want to give something back to the hospital that saved her life and gave two sisters the chance to form an incredible friendship and love for each other.”

About her gesture, Lelu said: “I feel very grateful that the hospital saved my life, and I want to give them something in return.”

Her sister Kitti added: “I wanted to help the hospital that saved Lelu’s life to say thank you for helping her.”

The girls have already smashed their £500 target – which James says he will match – and have raised more than £1,200 so far.

James said: “I’m very proud they both want to do something to thank the hospital that gave them the chance to have such a wonderful relationship with each other.

“Please give generously and show my girls that when you give up something for the good of others, the world will reward your efforts.

“Instead of that extra bit of tinsel you were about to spend £5 on, or that extra present in the pile under the tree that was going to cost you £20, please, give it to GOSH this Christmas. Not everybody with very poorly children is as lucky as we’ve been.”

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