The Essex Kitcar Club (EKCC) members have built their own cars using body/chassis kits bought from specialist manufacturers and adding engines, transmissions, brakes etc. from production vehicles. Members and their cars meet for breakfast on the last Sunday of each month and attend car shows in Essex and surrounding counties throughout the summer season. Information at www.essexkitcarclub.co.uk – Please note we are actively seeking new members, you may be building a car, own something unusual, it doesn’t need to be a kit,or just interested in the world of specials, kitcars, hot rods etc, you will be made welcome!
In the past, the club has supported a number of charities. This year the club has decided to use some surplus funds to make donations to Royal Brompton Hospital and British Heart Foundation, due to personal involvement of two members having had heart issues within their families.
Some 30 years ago a Club Member’s daughter, Emma, was born with a congenital heart defect, a combination of extremely rare conditions found only once in 100,000 births. An emergency ambulance transferred her to the Brompton hospital just days after her birth, & at 12 days old she had pulmonary artery banding to stop her lungs from filling with fluid. 6 weeks at Brompton before getting back home.
Not out of the woods another major open-heart operation was needed when the pulmonary banding was outgrown and her heart began to deteriorate, at age 3 surgical options were given none of which would have given Emma a normal life until the world-renowned heart surgeon Sir Magdy Yacoub said he could attempt a complete repair, there were severe risks but weighed against the alternatives and if successful would be the best option for Emma in the long run.
The operation was successful, but recovery extremely difficult with emergency surgery performed whilst recovering in intensive care only days after. The end result was a heart repaired to the best anyone could have hoped for but left Emma with a leaky left aortic valve, she has been closely monitored every 6 months then annually ever since.
Emma collapsed whilst at a music festival with unusual heart rhythms in 2008, was attended to by the festival emergency medical facility and released back into the festival, her parents did not find out until some months later much to their fury, and deep concern by the Brompton Hospital team. A surgical procedure called an ablation was performed eliminating areas where random electrical firing of the heart was taking place, the risk is that a pacemaker would be needed but Emma was lucky and the procedure went well.
In 2010 a second open-heart surgical procedure to repair the leaky aortic valve was mildly successful and has kept Emma in reasonable health until recently. Expecting to be called for the valve to replaced by a mechanical one in 2020 but a recent consultation and MRI scan showed a severe narrowing of the Left Ventricle Output Tract which will be operated on later this year or early next year, it will be Emma’s third major open-heart surgery amongst many other invasive procedures. We still expect that Emma to have further operations to replace the leaky valve with a mechanical one in the future.
A bright and bubbly person, she has never let her condition dominate her life, she has exceeded all expectations, has played Hockey since senior school playing for the school at county standard, & continues to play Hockey for local teams. Emma follows her Grandmother’s love of dancing and studied dance and musical theatre at Colchester Institute. She also has a passion for music, learning to play the drums as well as being active in the music scene, a full-time nursery nurse she uses her creative nature to provide a rich environment for the children she works with.
The Brompton Hospital children’s ward ‘Rose Gallery’ is a truly amazing place where Emma either recovered from the many procedures or visited for the many checkups and consultations until she moved to the adult clinic. The Hospital is a centre of excellence and provides world-leading care for the most difficult of cases, Emma & her family feel they have been blessed with the treatment and personal care given freely to them
Recently another Club Member was admitted for keyhole heart surgery & had 2 stents fitted, hence with the above cases in mind the Club wanted to donate to both the Brompton Hospital & The British Heart Foundation
The attached photos illustrate some of Emma’s challenges & activity & a sample of some of the Club’s kitcars, with the cheques for donation.