FINLEY McDonald is a real-life superhero.

He has swum with dolphins, raced around Disneyland Paris and bagged Spiderman’s autograph – and he is only four years old.

With his trusty sidekick and best friend Riven Anderson, aged five, by his side, Finley is determined to see and do as much as he can before his next heart operation.

Finley, of Hansom Drive, Atherton, was born with the incurable and life-limiting condition hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means he only has half a heart.

His mum Nicola Shaw said: “Every day he struggles to catch his breath, stay warm and he gets tired out very easily.

“During his last operation he had a stroke and lost the use of his left side. He now suffers from hard to control epileptic seizures, meaning he is on lots of sedation medication for these.

“This, in turn, has caused him to have an unsafe swallow, so he has to be peg fed into his little tummy to prevent food going on to his lungs.

“Finley is the funniest, craziest, bravest little boy we know, and he has always got a big smile for everyone he sees.

“He has been listed for his next heart surgery in October and I’ve written a list of all the things he wants to do before then.”

His adventures so far have been made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Finley, who attends New Greenhall complex needs pre-school in Atherton, wanted to raise £1,000 for the charity and for Little Hearts Matter.

Nicola, aged 40, set up a Facebook page called Finster’s little adventures and soon after received a £1,000 donation from AB Sundecks.

Nicola said: “I’m in total shock, he's now reached his target thanks to them - another little adventure that can be checked off his list.

“I just want him to have as much fun as possible before his operation. Little Hearts Matter’s motto is half a heart, not half a life.

“His treatment is palliative care because there is no cure and 30 per cent of children don’t live past five, the oldest person with the condition is 20.

“Riven is fantastic, she really enriches his life. She goes to see him in hospital. Without her he wouldn’t have a little friend.”

Leigh Journal:

Finley was put into foster care not long after his first heart operation at just six weeks old but he stole the hearts of Nicola, who is now his full-time carer and her partner Gary Jones, aged 50, and they are now his official guardians.

Fundraising for Finley

  •  On June 15 Finley will be a mascot for Leigh Centurions.
  •  Family friend Tommy Martyn is holding a sportsman’s dinner.
  • The landlady of the Blackdog at Belmont has also offered to do a skydive, while MGF Construction is doing a wear your own clothes day every week.
  • To find out more, visit