Dagenham heart patient girl, 8, fronts hospital campaign

Rebecca with her parents Darren and Claire, and Grafton Primary School headteacher Martin Nicholson

Rebecca with her parents Darren and Claire, and Grafton Primary School headteacher Martin Nicholson - Credit: Archant

A young dancer who had to undergo major heart surgery when she was just seven months old has become the face of a campaign for the country’s most famous children’s hospital.

Rebecca with her parents Darren and Claire, and Grafton Primary School headteacher Martin Nicholson

Rebecca with her parents Darren and Claire, and Grafton Primary School headteacher Martin Nicholson - Credit: Archant

Eight-year-old Rebecca Carter, of Grafton Gardens, Dagenham, was born with a hole in her heart.

But following a successful operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) she has been able to live a normal childhood, despite check-ups at the hospital every other year.

In recognition of her success and her continued visits Rebecca has been chosen as the face of GOSH’s Bad Hair Day campaign, fronting letters sent out to hundreds of schools.

The hospital is encouraging people to pop on a wacky wig or crimp up their crops on February 12 – Rebecca’s ninth birthday – and raise some cash to make a difference to the lives of thousands of seriously ill children who need the hospital’s help each year.


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“The hospital is really nice and really look after me, so it will be nice to help them out,” said Rebecca, who attends Grafton Primary School in Dagenham.

“I’m going to curl up my hair and put different colours in it.”

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Dad Darren, a personal trainer, has helped raise £40,000 for the hospital as an ambassador through various fundraising challenges, but says he will never be able to raise enough to thank the hospital.

“Rebecca wouldn’t be here today without GOSH,” he said. “We’ll always be indebted to them.

“We’ve raised a lot for GOSH but we can never do enough, no matter how much we raise because thanks to them we still have our daughter.”

As well as enjoying a normal school life, Rebecca also loves dancing and has been a member of Sue Garner’s School of Dance for a number of years.

The group performed at The Broadway theatre in Barking at the weekend and Rebecca picked up a trophy for her achievements.

“We’re all really proud of her,” said school principal Sue Garner.

“She’s had to work really hard for this, but she’s such a lovely well-mannered girl – she’ll always do what you ask of her and will always do what it takes to improve.”

Laura Savory, head of community events and tribute giving at GOSH’s Children’s Charity, hopes Barking and Dagenham residents will join in the fun next month.

“GOSH Children’s Charity is delighted that Rebecca could play such an important role ahead of this year’s Bad Hair Day,” she said.

“Rebecca was a complete natural in front of the camera.

“We hope she has a brilliant day wearing bad hair at school on Friday February 12 with her friends and teachers.”

Visit gosh.org/badhairday for more information or to sign up to take part.

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