Lit­tle Aussie bat­tler


Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents -

Khylie was pre­par­ing to say good­bye to her daugh­ter when a guardian an­gel ar­rived – with a new heart

As her lit­tle girl Azri lay dy­ing in hos­pi­tal, Khylie Brown wrote a text no mother would ever want to write.

“I told t my part­ner Anna I was go­ing to bring our daugh­ter hom home to die,” she says with tears in he her eyes. “I’d lost all hope.”

Jus Just 14 months ear­lier, Azri Mor­timer was a sporty sev­enyear-old with big dreams and an even big­ger per­son­al­ity. Play­ing on the mon­key bars in the park with her brother Zaran, nine, she fell and broke her el­bow.

Af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery to sta­bilise the bone, Khylie ex­pected to take her lit­tle girl home to re­cover quickly.

In­stead, she got the shock of her life when a doc­tor told her dur­ing surgery that a car­diac nurse dis­cov­ered Azri’s heart wasn’t work­ing prop­erly.

More tests re­vealed she had re­stric­tive car­diomy­opa­thy – a rare con­di­tion that only three other chil­dren in Aus­tralia have.

“I’ve got a rel­a­tive with a heart mur­mur so I thought it must have been the same sort of thing. But when I asked the doc­tor what tablets she needed she said, ‘Tablets can’t fix this – your daugh­ter needs a heart

trans­plant,’” says the 46-year-old mum. “I was dev­as­tated.”

While a tear­ful Khylie tried to break the news to Azri, doc­tors de­liv­ered an­other dev­as­tat­ing blow when they told her the chances of a child re­ceiv­ing a donor heart were rare.

While doc­tors hoped Azri could hold out un­til she was 16 for an adult heart, just six months later a biopsy re­vealed her heart was de­te­ri­o­rat­ing faster than ex­pected.

“The doc­tor said with­out a trans­plant she had 12 months to live,” Khylie shud­ders. “And there was no guar­an­tee she’d get a heart. Not every­one does.”

The next few months were grim as Khylie, who works for Syd­ney Trains, and her part­ner Anna Mor­timer, 54, had to watch their once lively lit­tle girl’s health dwin­dle un­til she be­came wheel­chair bound.

Fi­nally, a ray of hope came for the fam­ily and their pre­cious lit­tle girl when a heart be­came avail­able in Jan­uary this year. But as Azri was be­ing pre­pared for surgery, they learned the heart wasn’t a suit­able match.

Through­out this process, Azri was fad­ing fast and when her weight plum­meted to just 21kg and she was strug­gling to breathe, she was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal.

“Her heart was fail­ing and she be­came weaker ev­ery day,” Khylie says. “She was dy­ing be­fore my eyes. On the fifth day I pre­pared for her death. I knew it was hours away. I’d lost all hope and de­cided all I could do for her was to make sure she died at home, sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends.”

Then, just as she had fin­ished hed draft­ing the text to Anna by her dy­ing daugh­ter’s bed­side in Fe­bru­ary, Khylie says a guardian rdian an­gel came to her – in the form orm of a heart trans­plant co­or­di­na­tor. na­tor.

“She told me a heart had be­come avail­able,” she re­calls. lls. “I couldn’t be­lieve it and I was over­joyed, but also sad for the he fam­ily who had lost their child. hild. I woke Azri and told her she e was get­ting a new heart and d she gasped, ‘Hurry up.’”

Af­ter spend­ing the next six-and-a-half hours anx­iously usly pac­ing the hos­pi­tal cor­ri­dors, rs, Khylie and Anna got the news ws they had spent more than a year pray­ing for – the surgery ery had been a suc­cess!

As soon as Khylie laid eyes s on Azri, she had no doubt her er pre­cious daugh­ter was go­ing g to live a long and healthy life. e.

“It was like look­ing at a dif­fer­ent child,” she says. “Her eyes flut­tered open and I saw life in them again.” .”

Just eight days later, Azri as­tounded her fam­ily and doc­tors when she skipped out of hos­pi­tal and into Ron­ald Mcdon­ald House.

The en­er­getic lit­tle one has as since been at­tend­ing school l and un­der­go­ing re­hab in Mel­bourne, urne, which she’s ex­pected to fin­ish sh in June.

While Azri can’t wait to get et back to her fam­ily and friends ds in Syd­ney, Khylie says she can’t an’t keep her girl down.

“She can al­ready run 3km m and it’s a strug­gle to get her off her skate­board,” Khylie laughs. “No words can thank the donor fam­ily enough. They’d just lost ost their child. Mine had just hours ours to live. With their selfless de­ci­sion they gave her life.”

‘Her heart was fail­ing and she be­came weaker ev­ery day’

Khylie with Azri, her part­ner Anna and son Zaran at a Heartkids fundraiser. Just out of in­ten­sive care af­ter her heart trans­plant in Fe­bru­ary. Mum Khylie was dev­as­tated when she heard her daugh­ter’s di­ag­no­sis.

An en­er­getic Azri’s on the road to re­cov­ery!

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