Hard road for heart kids, and families
EVERY day, as many as eight children are born with a heart defect in Australia.
There are 32,000 children living in Australia with a heart defect – and each child is a different story.
Three-year-old Emma Coiutti, of Mossman, was born with truncus arteriosus, where she only has one blood vessel coming out of her heart instead of two, causing blood heading to and coming out of her lungs for oxygen to mix.
Her condition is treatable, but requires surgery every few years as she grows.
Her mum, Amy Noli, said life was “full of appointments.”
“Always going to appointments, and then you have anxiety because you’re always wondering whether that’s going to be a successful appointment.”
Emma can still enjoy life though – for Amy it’s a case of being cautious about her daughter getting sick.
“I’m always cautious if someone’s around coughing so they don’t get sick and end up in hospital.”
Amy explained that children with heart defects take longer to recover when they become sick, so prevention was the solution.
February 14 is Sweetheart Day, a national awareness day for those children with heart defects that’s promoted by HeartKids.
HeartKids provide lifelong support to those with childhood heart disease and their families, with the lion’s share of money donated going towards research into reducing mortality and occurrence, and developing preventive measures and improving early detection among other things.
For more information about the work done by HeartKids, visit their website at heartkids.org.au.
Tyrie Senzio, 11, Ruby Samuels, 7, and Emma Coiutti, 3. All the girls were born with heart defects