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Mum must have feared I'd never see 40.. It's so sad she's not here to enjoy it; LANDMARK BIRTHDAY FOR 'BLUE BABY' SCOT.

Byline: Janice Burns

MARY McCook was the happiest mum in Scotland when she appeared in the Record in 1974 with her miracle girl in her arms.

Two-year-old Karen, who had blue baby syndrome, had just survived major surgery to repair her heart.

Yesterday, she celebrated her 40th birthday surrounded by her family - but without her beloved mum, who died of lung disease nine months ago. She was 67.

Karen said: "I'm sure my poor mum feared I would never see my 40th birthday and now she is not here to celebrate with me. It breaks my heart."

The mum-of-one, from Stevenston, Ayrshire, was born with a congenital defect and had to have surgery at Glasgow's Yorkhill Hospital to replace missing valves in her heart with plastic tubes.

Karen said: "I'm lucky to be alive because I would have died without an operation. Also, the surgery was risky and very few children survived it at the time."

Weeping as she paid tribute to her mum, she said: "She was my best friend and the best mum in the world. She looked after me so well.

"I think it was thanks to her love and care that I made such an amazing recovery."

Karen added: "My mum kept that photo of us which appeared in the Record 38 years ago and when I look at it now it just makes me cry. She looked so happy and proud."

She raised a glass to Mary as she celebrated with her husband Thomas Haswell, 41, son Thomas jr, 16, her dad David, 76, and her two brothers David, 49, and Mark, 38, yesterday.

Karen used to enjoy horse riding and swimming but her condition has deteriorated in recent years after one of the valves ripped, causing heart palpitations and blackouts.

CAPTION(S):

PROUD Mary's mum in Record MILESTONE Karen with her son Thomas
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 12, 2012
Words:309
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