A ONE-year-old who faced major surgery within hours of being born is among the youngsters lining up for a toddler dash.

Little Samson Taylor, from Esh Winning, in County Durham, will be taking part in the Simplyhealth Great North Toddler Dash, which takes place alongside a 10k race in July.

Samson, who will be two in May, spent the first few months of his life in hospital after being born eight weeks prematurely with a heart, oesophagus and trachea defect.

Just 13 hours after being born at Sunderland Royal Hospital, he was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, where he underwent surgery to repair damage to his oesophagus and trachea, and at eight months had to have open heart surgery.

His mother Jenni Taylor, 33, said: “We knew about his heart and we were due to make a plan for his birth the day before he was born but he had other ideas.

“We had expected for him to stay in hospital for a couple of days after he was born and he would be able to come home. Then he was born and his heart was the least of his problems.

“He ended up coming home on his due date.”

He is now doing well and Mrs Taylor and her husband Ben, who both work for Network Rail, are determined to raise money for the charities which helped them during the period Samson was in hospital.

He will be doing to the toddler dash to raise money for the Tiny Lives charity, which looks after families with babies in the specialist neonatal unit at the RVI and is also planning events in aid of the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) and the Sick Children’s Trust, which provides accommodation for parents so they can be close to their children while they are in hospital.

Mrs Taylor said: “We are so passionate about raising money and awareness for these charities because all three had a massive impact on us.

“It’s so important they carry on doing the work they do. We would have been lost without them so we want to do as much as we can.”

She added: “Looking at him today you would never imagine what he has been through. He’s very active and on the go all the time, chattering away and creating mischief. He’s just like any other toddler.”

Two events aimed at children are due to take place at Gateshead International Stadium on Sunday, July 9.

Children up to the age of three can take part in the toddler dash, a 60-70m route on the track.

Children over the age of three can enter the family run, where paying adults over the age of 16 can join them and run together along the mile course.

A 10k race, open to people over the age of 15, is taking place on the same day.

For more details visit www.greatrun.org.