Concert for brave Dunmow schoolgirl

PUBLISHED: 15:40 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:33 30 May 2010

Six-year-old Katie Harwood suffers from a relatively unknown condition which affects her heart Picture: SUBMITTED

Six-year-old Katie Harwood suffers from a relatively unknown condition which affects her heart Picture: SUBMITTED

A TOUCHING story of a six-year-old girl with a heart defect has prompted a school community to pull together and hold a one-off concert for charity. Katie Harwood from Great Dunmow suffers from a complex condition called Noonan Syndrome. The genetic disea

A TOUCHING story of a six-year-old girl with a heart defect has prompted a school community to pull together and hold a one-off concert for charity.

Katie Harwood from Great Dunmow suffers from a complex condition called Noonan Syndrome. The genetic disease effectively restricts the size of her pulmonary heart valve stopping blood flow. If not treated it is life threatening.

Described as a "wonderful girl with a great sense of humour" by her teachers at Felsted Preparatory School, Katie has already had two operations to widen the heart valve and her parents now hope that she can hold on until her teenage years before a new valve is needed.

To raise awareness of the condition the school is holding a charity concert on February 28 in aid of Newlife - a charity that deals specifically with Noonan Syndrome.

Katie's mother Jane Harwood said: "I am so grateful to James Lowry, who is father to Ben, Katie's best friend and also director of music at Felsted.

"He is aware how passionate I am about raising awareness, understanding and funds for Noonan Syndrome, along with the ability to connect with other families affected by NS. So he offered to support me by agreeing to turn a significant music event into a charity evening.

"In fact, I am grateful and overwhelmed by the whole school which wholeheartedly support and love her."

Mr Lowry has helped to organise the open concert which will be based on Carl Orff's 'Carmina Burana' (known as the X-Factor theme tune) and the well known ice-skating showstopper Bolero.

On the night, which begins at 7.30pm, around 150 professional singers, parents, Felsted choir members and guest choir members from across Essex will be performing.

Mr Lowry said: "Katie is a wonderful little girl with a great sense of humour and a big smile. Jane is doing a fantastic job, running the London marathon with her husband later this year amongst many other things.

"Felsted is delighted to support the whole family in raising money and awareness for their cause."

Mrs Harwood attended a rehearsal of the show last Sunday and was bowled over by the talents of the parents. "It was wonderful to hear my fellow parents sing," she said. "It was uplifting and inspiring and I would encourage everyone to come and enjoy this musical experience and appreciate the talent of everyone involved".

Newlife chairman Sheila Brown OBE is also a mum of a child with Noonan Syndrome will be attending the concert which forms part of the Felsted Arts Festival.

Mr Lowry added: "We hope that it will be a large community event and are delighted to be able to associate the music department with such a good cause."

Tickets cost £12 and are available from the Felsted Bookshop on 01371 822635 or bookroom@felsted.org. A collection will be made for the Newlife Charity.

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