Reggie Aslin helped us launch the 50 for 50 campaign for BHF, and was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
Lincolnshire FA, in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, has recently launched the '50 for 50' campaign - looking for 50 clubs to raise £50 to help reach a goal of £2,500 during the next football season.
The '50 for 50' challenge is an opportunity for clubs to embrace some fun and fundraising, get outdoors and help to fund life saving and life changing research.
September is also the month of action for the 'Spotlight On' campaign for the British Heart Foundation, a campaign that aims to put a spotlight on hidden heart conditions to raise their profile and fund urgently needed research that could help save lives.
Reggie Aslin, from Grimsby, helped us launch the '50 for 50' campaign along with former deputy chief medical officer and new Chair of Lincolnshire FA, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam. The launch was hosted at a Comets session, hosted by Lincoln Invictus Inclusive Football Club.
Reggie’s mum Michelle, who works at Reggie’s school, said her son was diagnosed with a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) when she was 20 weeks pregnant.
“It was really scary as we’d never heard of this condition or anything like it,” said Michelle.
“We were devastated but we knew that having surgery as soon as possible after he was born was the thing that would give him the best chance in life”.
Reggie was born in September 2016 via c-section, weighing 9lb 12oz, and just a few days later, when he was only four days old, he had his first surgery on his heart. This was followed by further surgery when he was six months old and again when he was six.
Unfortunately during the latest surgery, Reggie suffered a series of strokes which have impacted him physically and cognitively. This includes being left visually impaired.
"He slowly started to come around [following the surgery] but something wasn't right. His eyes were not Reggie's eyes. His left side was so still. He couldn't talk, couldn't communicate. He went for a CT scan and we found out he'd had multiple mini strokes. Every part of his brain was affected. He's had to learn everything again, walking, talking, eating. He's now left visually impaired and has a very weak left hand. He's got some learning regression with his letters, words and numbers but his school are amazing and we feel he'll get to where he needs to be."
"We are just so grateful to have Reggie with us, as the neurologist said he never expected him to get to where he is now. They didn't know if he'd wake up. In the early days, one said 'he won't likely walk or see, and we won't get the same boy back that we brought in'"
But Michelle said that ever since day one Reggie had been the “strongest kid I have ever known” and that his condition wasn’t holding him back.
“Although he has lots of limits now there is still so much he can do, including playing football with his friends,” she added. “I am so proud of him and we’re very happy to be supporting both these campaigns.
"Grimsby Town Football Club – they got him through. The passion Reggie’s got for them – that got him through, catching the ball, even with the physio, who would get him to hold his hands out like the goalkeeper, telling him that the players have physio – if he didn’t have that passion he wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing now.".
“What BHF did for us was out of this world – I get to tuck my little boy into bed at night because of the charity’s research. So I would urge people to support BHF in any way they can".
Reggie has also recently found out that he will be one of the official mascots for the England v Australia men's friendly at Wembley Stadium on Friday 13th October.
Heart and circulatory diseases affect over 7.6 million people across the UK, with 160,000 of those living in Lincolnshire alone. However, many of these conditions are often viewed as unseen or non-life threatening.
Melanie Meik, Community Engagement and Fundraising Manger for Lincolnshire at BHF, said: "We’re really grateful to Reggie and his family for helping us launch 50 for 50 and also for raising awareness of hidden heart conditions by supporting our Spotlight On campaign. Reggie is such a brave little boy and I am sure everyone who meets him will find him hugely inspirational.
Thank you Reggie, Michelle and all the Aslin family for helping us put a spotlight on hidden heart conditions”.