A PHOTO exhibition showcasing the scars of eight survivors born with a complex heart condition is set to open at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.


The Scarred for Life Exhibition was created by three friends, with congenital heart disease- Jenny Kumar, Liza Morton and Evening Times reporter Caroline Wilson- who wanted to change the perception that scars should be hidden away.

The project was created on behalf of the Sommerville Foundation which provides a national support network for adolescent and adult congenital heart patients.

Scarred for Life, which first launched at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in February 2015, will open at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital- home to the Scottish Adult Congenital Cardiac Service (SACCS)- this Friday 1 May and will run until 31 May.

Fashion and portrait photographer Kirsty Anderson captured portraits of the eight SACCS patients, Scott Burrell, Liza Morton, Caroline Wilson, Heather McDougall, Maggie Ross, Roderick Skinner, David Magennis* and Karen Maclachlan.

The portrait exhibition also aims to empower patients living in Scotland and raise awareness of the unique needs of the estimated 250,000 adults with CHD.

Mike Higgins, Medical Director at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, commented: "As home to regional and national heart and lung services, including the Scottish Adult Congenital Cardiac Service, the Golden Jubilee is dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease in its many forms.

"We are delighted to welcome €ª€Žthe Scarred FOR Life exhibition, which€¬ allows patients, staff and members of the public to hear directly about the experiences of congenital heart disease patients."

Friends Dr Liza Morton, Jenny Kumar and Caroline Wilson wanted to raise awareness of how the often invisible condition, which affects 1 in 125 babies born each year, impacts on adult life.

Dr Morton commented: "We would like to thank the Golden Jubilee National Hospital for opening its doors to the Scarred FOR Life exhibition, and helping to raise awareness of congenital heart disease.

"Many people with CHD have 'scars', whether we've had heart surgery or not. We want to empower the estimated 16,500 adults with CHD in Scotland to share their story and spread the word about this condition, which is the most common complex birth defect and has no cure."

Caroline Wilson, 39, is a reporter for the Evening Times.

She was born with a narrowing of the aorta and problems with her bicuspid aortic valve. The aorta is the main blood vessel that channels blood through the body.

Caroline said: "My scars stretches across my back, a hidden part of me. It is a reminder of the fragility of life and the resilience of the body.

"My aorta was almost completely blocked from birth and my body built a network of blood vessels to help bypass that blockage and keep me alive.

"The problem wasn't discovered until I was 31, when one GP refused to ignore my dangerously high blood pressure - she probably saved my life.

"The first cardiologist I saw simply shook her head when I told her I had recently run a half marathon. Apparently I could have died during it.

"When I look at my scar, and sometimes when I'm out running now, I give thanks to the NHS and for the extraordinary skill of the surgeon, Mr Jim Pollock."