SHE is walking to help retain the cardiac unit which helped save her young daughter’s life.

Newsome mum Jean Johnson is urging health officials to think again over the possible closure of a life saving heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

Jean’s daughter five-year-old Nikita Heeley, who was born with a hole in her heart and her heart on the wrong side of her body has already undergone lifesaving surgery at the unit.

She visits there every three months for check ups and will need further surgery when she gets older.

Ms Johnson, of Manor Street, is taking part in the Examiner’s Charity Challenge this Sunday where she hopes to raise the profile of the unit and raise funds.

She will be walking the seven-mile route with her friend Teresa Crawshaw and is already in training to ensure she completes the challenge.

“When you have a sick child like Nikita it is reassuring to know that the heart unit is just 30 minutes away in Leeds,” said Ms Johnson.

“I want to keep the service in Leeds, travelling to Liverpool or Newcastle is way too far particularly when I am taking Nikita to hospital every few months.”

Five-year-old Nikita, who attends Hillside Primary School at Newsome is small for her age and gets out of breath quickly because of her heart condition.

She cannot walk long distances and has to be pushed in a pushchair for long distances.

The review of children’s congenital heart services in England includes a proposal to reduce the number of NHS hospitals that provide heart surgery for children.

Four options are being consulted on – three of which do not include Leeds General Infirmary and would require Huddersfield residents to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool

Full details of the consultation, which runs until July 1 can be found at : www.specialisedservicesnhs.uk/safe_sustainable/public-consultation-2011