Christmas Excitement Causes Girl’s Heart To Stop

Christmas is a time for parents to be happy for their children’s excitement. But this doesn’t apply to Ray and Tina Cleveland, as their daughter Holly is suffering from a rare disease that causes her heart to stop and leaves her breathless for about 30 seconds, when she gets over excited.

This is two-year-old Holly’s first Christmas since she was diagnosed with the disease and both her parents are very worried, even though they were assured the toddler’s heart will always start beating again. In fact they put up the Christmas tree and started “celebrating” early so that little Holly could get used to all the excitement gradually.

“We even put our tree up early to try and get her used to the twinkly lights before they started appearing everywhere. It’s heartbreaking to see her little face light up and then have to immediately calm her down again. I’ve even avoided asking her what present she wants because I don’t want her to get too excited when she sees it,” Holly’s mother, Tina, explains.

The reflex anoxic seizures that Holly has been suffering from are caused by an overactive vagus nerve that causes a sudden lack of blood in the brain, which in turn leads to loss of breath and consciousness.

She had her firs attack when she was just nine months old “She’d been crying but suddenly stopped and went white and floppy. Seconds later she was back round but it was terrifying,” and after that, when it happened again, the doctors considered to be deliberate holding of breath, something common in most toddlers. It wasn’t until October, when Holly was about 20 months old, that the real cause was determined.

Although there is no cure for this condition, affecting around 8 in 1,000 children, doctors say it’s not life-threatening and in many cases the children grow out of it. It’s just a shame this little angel won’t be able to enjoy and celebrate Christmas the way she should…