A WEST Belfast girl is receiving specialist care at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London after being diagnosed with a severe lung and heart condition.

Gracie Doyle (7) was walking to school with her dad when she suddenly collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital. She collapsed again a few weeks later at school.

Gracie was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension – a rare condition that develops when the walls of the pulmonary arteries become stiff, thickened or blocked, making it difficult for the vessels to expand. The tightened and narrowed arteries put increasing strain on the heart to pump blood to the lungs. There is no cure for the condition.

It is an anxious time for Grace's parents, Emily and Gary, who are with their daughter in Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London.

Gracie's mum Emily said that she had concerns about Gracie's health for a number of years but always put it down to her asthma.

"The past few weeks have been so hard for us all, but we are so proud of how Gracie has handled everything with a smile and refuses to give up no matter what life has thrown at her," she said.

"She has always been the life and soul of our family and her personality lights up every room that she is in and it is amazing to see how much of a fighting spirit she has.

"Sadly though, her life has now changed forever and she is going to need constant 24 hour care with the possibility of a lung transplant in later life due to her condition, which is heartbreaking because she is the type of girl who is never inside the house and was always out playing with her friends but will never be able to do that again. 

"If the pump that she will need for treatment starts to fail, we only have four to five minutes to act before the valves in her lungs close so anyone who is with her will need to be alert at all times.

"The doctors and nurses at Great Ormond Street Hospital have been incredible with Gracie and we cannot thank them enough for everything that they have done for us and are committed to looking after her."

Gracie is receiving the best of care

Gracie is receiving the best of care

Gracie and her parents will not return home to Belfast for a number of weeks with her parents and school teachers having to be trained about her treatment.

A GoFundMe page has been set up, which is hoping to raise enough funds for a special trip to Disneyland Paris. Over £3,000 has been raised so far.

"We are so thankful to everyone who has supported the fundraiser," added Emily. "It really has meant the world to us and it is wonderful to see just how many kind and generous people there are out there who are willing to help us.

"We cannot thank everyone enough."

You can donate to the fundraising page here.