THE parents of a baby who was born with a serious heart condition have expressed their gratitude for the support they’ve received.

Khalique and Angela Miah, who live in Athelhampton, have paid tribute to their employers, family, friends, and hospital staff.

Whilst Angela gave birth to Reuben on December 20 last year, it became apparent something was wrong.

Reuben was diagnosed with the serious heart condition Tetralogy of Fallot and Cornelia de Lange Syndrome.

He spent three weeks in hospital before being sent home. He needed to be fed by tube and monitored.

Reuben then had to attend appointments at Dorset County Hospital and Southampton General Hospital.

In March, Reuben’s condition got worse. He was rushed to Southampton General Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and then went onto the High Dependency Unit. He had a minor open heart procedure to help oxygen move around his body but it didn’t go to plan.

Khalique said: “We are waiting for him to have a big surgery. They have got to mend his heart.

“They can’t do it because he needs to be bigger. He’s having difficulty putting weight on.”

Khalique works as a driver for Damory Coaches, a bus and coach operator based in Blandford Forum.

Whilst Angela remained at the hospital, Khalique took unpaid leave to look after their other children: Khalid, Nikita and Aaron.

Staff at Damory Coaches had a whip round and raised £150 to help with travel costs to and from the hospital. After eight weeks, Khalique’s situation was explained to the managers and controllers at Damory.

Khalique received a ‘generous’ extra payment in his next paycheque to help with living costs.

Khalique said he was grateful for the help and support shown from his employer.

He said: “I wasn’t expecting anything like that. When you work for a big company like that, you think you are just a number.

“It’s almost like a miracle. I can’t believe it even now.”

The Three Ells Trust charity and Puddletown Church have also made donations to the family to help with travel costs.

Sue Buxton, a childminder from Cheselbourne, has also stepped in to look after Aaron, aged three, one day a week.

Reuben and Angela have now been staying at Southampton General Hospital for the past 17 weeks.

Angela said: “He has spent over half his life here and whilst he is making slow progress we don’t know what the future holds but we have seen amazing kindness and compassion from family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers.”

She continued: “Reuben has such a strong will to live. I just hope soon he will be home and able to get to know his brothers and sister.”