Heart Kid gives back, and meets his heroes
Every week 12 Kiwi babies are born with heart defects.
For some children like Taylor Lilley they might need a single surgery, while others will battle long-term heart disease.
Whatever the condition, the not-for-profit organisation Heart Kids is there to provide help for kids and families.
This year Napier boy Taylor, 11, was selected to be one of the children representing the organisation as part of its May fundraising appeal.
For his family, Heart Kids had been there almost since the beginning, when he was flown to Starship Hospital for surgery after doctors discovered he had a hole in his heart.
‘‘We had an emergency flight to Auckland and arrived with the clothes on our backs,’’ his mother Christine said.
The organisation can provide support to families in these situations with practical needs like food, clothes, even tooth brushes, along with emotional and psycho-social services.
‘‘They are just such a neat team, they are so passionate about what they do,’’ she said.
Taylor is now a student at Tamatea Intermediate and a keen cricketer, so the charity paired him up with his favourite team, The Black Caps, earlier this year, as Heart Kids are the team’s official charity.
‘‘I thought I was dreaming,’’ he said about meeting the players.
A signed shirt and bat take pride of place in his bedroom.
Taylor also had the chance to play a few overs with the team at McLean Park, learning some tricks to take back to his Napier Tech club where he plays as an all-rounder.
Heart Kids also run camps for children and teens in Auckland each year, partnered with a medical centre to ensure children with serious needs can take part.
Taylor has been on two and said the flying fox and playing cricket was the best part of the experience.
Donations can be made through the Heart Kids website.
Hawke’s Bay Heart Kid Taylor Lilley.