Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Kirsty defies the odds to enjoy fairytale wedding
A WOMAN who “died” for 22 minutes, after suffering a heart attack when she was eight, has beaten all the odds to walk down the aisle on her wedding day.
After her heart stopped beating twice, Kirsty Newman’s parents were warned she wouldn’t last the night.
When she pulled through, they were told she’d be dead within a week.
Then they gave her a month and when she survived beyond that, her life expectancy was stretched to a few years.
Fifteen years on, she is alive and kicking, and, if there was ever an example of why not to give up hope, it’s Kirsty, who married her “prince” Tony Butler on Saturday.
Kirsty, now 23, wed Tony, 36, during an emotional ceremony at St Gabriel’s Church in Pitsea, choosing the fitting hit, Titanic’s “My heart will go on” as their first dance.
There wasn’t a dry eye as Kirsty, who often has to rely on a wheelchair, bravely walked up the aisle on the arm of her proud dad Steven, 48.
Determined Kirsty, of Crouch Street, Noak Bridge, said: “I wasn’t going to have my big day in a wheelchair. No way.
“I couldn’t have cared less if it poured with rain, it was my wedding day and I got to marry my prince.”
Kirsty has been left with partial brain damage as a result of her sudden heart attack as a child, brought on by the condition pulmonary hypertension.
After collapsing at home in 1997 and spending months in hospital, she had to learn to walk and talk all over again.
Mum Tracey, 49, said: “She was clinically dead for 22 minutes. We were given no hope, but we kept some anyway.
“We couldn’t give up on her. She is an example to anyone out there, never, never, never give up!”
Tracey added: “As it was all happening and we were in the ambulance on the way to hospital, I felt like I’d be catapulted to Mars. It was like I was watching it all happen to someone else.
“To think that Kirsty would grow up, let alone get married, is just a miracle.
“We knew we had more chance of winning the lottery than of Kirsty getting better. But it was a real team effort by everyone.
“The A&E team at Basildon Hospital just wouldn’t let her go. They kept trying to resuscitate her.
“Of course, Kirsty did the fighting.
“She has fire in her.”
Kirsty met Tony, who is now her full-time carer, on Facebook and they have been together for almost three years.
Because Kirsty can’t travel on planes easily as she needs oxygen, the newlyweds are off to enjoy their honeymoon break in Scotland.
Kirsty, who was so close to death at one point her family gave her “Christmas” party in July as they didn’t think she’d last until December, added: “My mum was told categorically by a consultant that I would never hold a pen again. Now I’ve held a pen in my hand to sign my own wedding register.”