Little Aussie battler
MY DAUGHTER HAD HOURS TO LIVE... NOW SHE'S UNSTOPPABLE!
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!