Mum takes on fun run in son’s mem­ory

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEWTSO

An Up­per Hutt mum is tack­ling a char­ity walk this Mother’s Day - more than a decade af­ter she lost her hours-old son.

Carol Brabyn will be walk­ing the Jen­nian Homes Mother’s Day fun run and walk at Porirua’s Aotea La­goon on Sun­day in mem­ory her first son, Hunter.

Hunter, who was born in 2006, lived just 13 hours af­ter he was born with trans­po­si­tion of the great ar­ter­ies - a heart de­fect.

‘‘Within a minute of his birth, he was fight­ing for his life,’’ Brabyn said.

Fur­ther com­pli­ca­tions meant doc­tors were un­able to op­er­ate to try to save Hunter.

Brabyn will join more than 10,000 run­ners and walk­ers in 32 other events around the coun­try in an ef­fort to raise funds for the Heart Foun­da­tion.

She had not heard of the event be­fore this year but im­me­di­ately thought it would be a good thing to do.

‘‘My son would have been 12 next month and it’s just some­thing that felt right to do this year. I no­ticed it was for Heart Foun­da­tion and I was keen to sup­port them.’’

Brabyn felt a strong con­nec­tion to the Heart Foun­da­tion’s cause not only be­cause of Hunter, but be­cause both her father and far­ther-in-law died in their 40s of heart dis­ease.

De­spite the in­creased pos­si­bil­ity her next child be­ing born with the same prob­lem, Brabyn and her hus­band de­cided to have an­other child. Jackson was born in 2009 and mon­i­tor­ing early in her preg­nancy en­sured he was not af­flicted with the same con­di­tion as Hunter.

‘‘I knew soon af­ter [Hunter’s death] that I wanted an­other child. He’s been a win­dow of light in our lives.’’

With the 2018 Round the Bays al­ready un­der her belt, Brabyn said she should knock off the Porirua event with­out much trou­ble. This year, the Heart Foun­da­tion cel­e­brates its 50th an­niver­sary. Jen­nian Homes Mother’s Day Fun Run/Walk, in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Heart Foun­da­tion, helps raise aware­ness of heart dis­ease in women.

Heart dis­ease is NewZealand’s sin­gle big­gest killer, claim­ing the lives of more than 6000 Ki­wis ev­ery year – that’s one life ev­ery 90 min­utes.

Over the years, the Heart Foun­da­tion has do­nated over $65 mil­lion to life­sav­ing car­diac re­search and spe­cial­ist car­diac train­ing.

MATTHEW TSO/STUFF

Carol Brabyn has the full sup­port of her son, Jackson, 9, as she takes on the Jen­nian Homes Mother’s Day Fun Run/Walk at Porirua’s Aotea La­goon on Mother’s Day.

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