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Making every moment count for Kandice

(Photo by Akil Simmons)Creating wonderful memories:Kandice Douglas-Young and mom, Derika

For brave Kandice Douglas-Young her 11th birthday at the end of this month is extra special.

The youngster suffers from a rare congenital heart condition and will travel to Boston in August to find out if she will have to undergo potentially life-saving surgery.

In the meantime the ten-year-old Paget Primary pupil is making the most of every day thanks to Child and Family Services, her family and a host of generous donors. The I Heart Kandice Young Birthday Celebration Committee has arranged a series of memorable events for Kandice and her family in the ten days leading up to her birthday on June 30.

So far she has taken a horse and buggy ride with her father Kevin Douglas, had a special photoshoot with her mother Derika Young, taken a glass bottom boat ride and enjoyed a family picnic at Clearwater.

Over the next few days Kandice will swim with dolphins, visit the Crystal Caves and have a tea party at the Southampton Fairmont before a special surprise party on Tuesday.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Kandice. “I have really enjoyed the horse and buggy ride with my daddy, and the family picnic was a lot of fun too. I’m looking forward to all the fun activities that are still to come.”

Ms Young added: “It’s about creating memories that we can hold on to forever.”

“We just don’t know how things are going to go when we go to Boston in August so this is really important for Kandice and for us as a family. It’s been fantastic so far, a little tiring, but she has loved it. Every day there is something special for her to do.”

The family’s social worker, Verdelle Dill, who has been at the forefront of the series of birthday events added: “I don’t think I have ever seen Kandice this happy. She is making the most of every minute.

“We wanted to make sure that Kandice’s birthday was truly memorable, and that her and her family can look back on it with really happy memories.”

Kandice was born with heterotaxy syndrome, a rare congenital heart disease, and also pulmonary vein stenosis, which stops blood and oxygen from flowing to the lungs.

The youngster has to take a range of medication on a daily basis to control the conditions.

“When she was born Kandice had to be flown to Boston for emergency surgery,” said Ms Young. She made a good recovery but we knew there would come a day when we would have to go back to Boston and deal with the problem again. Recently she has become increasingly breathless and had some chest pains. She has been having troubles with her hands so we need to act and hope for the best.”

<p>Group effort</p>

Scores of people have come together to make the 10 days leading up to Kandice Douglas-Young’s birthday as memorable as possible for her and her family.

They include: Airashi Photography, Bronco Stables Horse and Carriage Tours of St George’s, the Bermuda Aquarium, Captain Kirk’s Coral Reef Adventures, Gombeys Restaurant at Clearwater, Edgewood Pediatrics, Elbow Beach, the Continental Society, Dolphin Quest Bermuda, the Crystal Caves, Mr and Mrs Wendell Smith and family, Mr and Mrs Andre Mason and Sherri Walker, Dawn Brown, Clusters Balloon Creations, Charmaine Friday, Gombey Warriors Dance Troupe, Fun Tyme Entertainment, Jerkeisha Simons, Mia Daniels, Bermuda Cupcake Company, Taste Well Cookies, Treats, Shondi Woods, Junee Scott, Boyle’s, Family Preservation Team at the Department of Child and Family Services and The I Heart Kandice Young Birthday Celebration Team.