Hard road for heart kids, and fam­i­lies

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

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.

Pic­ture: SCOTT TIB­BALLS

Tyrie Sen­zio, 11, Ruby Sa­muels, 7, and Emma Coiutti, 3. All the girls were born with heart de­fects

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