The Baby Ronnie Foundation in Thanet

The Baby Ronnie Foundation has helped turn pain into power after a family sadly lost their two-year-old Ronnie Joe in August 2022 to Restrictive Cardiomyopathy.


The aim of The Baby Ronnie Foundation is to make heart scans available to all at birth preventing Congenital Heart Defects (CHD’s) and also spreading love and awareness in brave Ronnie’s memory.


We caught up with Ronnie’s family and organisers of the Foundation to help explain how it all came together after the passing of their beloved Ronnie.


Speaking to us Lucinda, Ronnie’s god mother, & Ronnie’s nan Lisa Russell explained: “Pregnancy with Ronnie was fine, everything went well at the birth, we could not be happier to welcome Ronnie into the world, and throughout Ronnie’s life he did have many visits to the hospital it always seemed to be chest infections with antibiotics being prescribed. Ronnie lived a normal childhood, he was bright he was bubbly playful and loving despite becoming poorly regularly, he still always had a huge smile on his face.

“On 19th June 2022 Ronnie had his dinner and went to bed normally, however, he woke up in distress turning blue and he was rushed to Margate hospital where they worked to stabilise him. But, they struggled to do so and called upon the specialist team in London who did not want to move Ronnie so they came to him as fast as they could. The London team did everything in their power to stabilise him so he could be moved to London for more urgent help; we heard the words many times of “prepare for the worst” but we never thought the worst would come.

“Ronnie was taken to a London hospital where he was diagnosed with Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart which restricts the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body. Ronnie was then transferred onto a specialist heart hospital in Chelsea where he stayed for 9 weeks to be told he needed a heart transplant. Ronnie then caught more infections and deteriorated very quickly resulting in cardiac arrests, after this we were told he only had a certain amount of time left on machines and he was fighting so hard. He fought and fought until he could not fight anymore and we sadly lost Ronnie on the 19th of August 2022. Our hearts are shattered and the only thing we can do with our pain is turn it into power by spreading Ronnie’s name, story and memory which is why we decided to start the foundation.”


The foundation, still in its early stages, has already sent teddy packs to children with CHD’s, and those going through surgery or a diagnosis. They also offer support advice to anyone who may need it at such a hard time in their lives, and raised £535 at Christmas and delivered toys to the hospital that cared for Ronnie throughout his fight.


The foundation has also set up a petition to make heart scans available to all at birth, with roughly 1000 babies leaving UK hospitals every year with undetected CHD’s. To sign the petition and to find out more visit


Originally published on Page 8 of Thanet CommunityAd Magazine, February 2023 – Issue 46

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