​Two-Year-Old With Heart Condition Controls Christmas Lights With His Heartbeat

A two-year-old boy who was born with a heart condition was given the chance to control Christmas lights in London's West End, with his heartbeat.

Billy Hopkin was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries, which is a condition where the two main blood vessels that leave the heart are swapped over.

At just a week old, Billy underwent a 14 hour operation and although his parents weren't sure he would survive he slowly got stronger and left hospital a month after being born

This Christmas, to raise awareness for Tiny Tickers, a charity for young children with serious heart conditions, Billy controlled the Christmas lights around the Seven Dials monument in the West End.

Billy had to undergo a 14 hour operation at just a week old. (Credit: Tiny Tickers)
Billy had to undergo a 14 hour operation at just a week old. (Credit: Tiny Tickers)

The lights had been static for most of the month until Billy's heartbeat was used to make them flash.

In the video as the lights pulsated Billy watched from his iPad with a huge smile on his face.

Billy's mum, Rebecca said: "Christmas is meant to be the happiest time of year but I think it's very easy to forget that lots of families could be going through a really hard time - and sadly they don't get to enjoy the holidays together.

Christmas lights around the Seven Dials monument flashed to Billy's heartbeat. (Credit: PA)
Christmas lights around the Seven Dials monument flashed to Billy's heartbeat. (Credit: PA)

"I really wanted to be involved in this idea because there's been many Christmases where we've been in this situation - and I want other families to know they're not alone.

"I think it's really important to keep making noise and raising awareness about heart disease - but also make people aware of the wider impact it has on families.

"Most of all we just really want people to stop and think, because it could happen to them.

Billy was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries. (Credit: Tiny Tickers)
Billy was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries. (Credit: Tiny Tickers)

"Thankfully we have incredible support from charities such as Tiny Tickers - but the funding doesn't magically appear, it relies on donations from the public. So I really hope this activation encourages people to donate - even if it's just a small amount."

Rebecca also told the Metro: "Seeing a video of the lights just brought me to tears. 'It brings so many emotions back from the very early days of watching his heart rate but it also made me see how far he's come.

"It's incredible that they have managed to do it and I hope people will stop and ask what is going on. Just asking about it will get the information out there."

Featured Image Credit: Tiny Tickers/PA

Bethany Gleave

Bethany Gleave is a Freelance Journalist at PRETTY52 and joined the team in 2018. She is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, and started her career at a national press agency, writing breaking and trending news for the national newspapers.

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