When they took my little eight-year-old girl from me and wheeled her into theatre it was without doubt the worst day of my life, Melinda Walter said.
Melinda was recalling the day her now healthy 39-year-old daughter underwent major heart surgery to repair a narrowing of the aorta.
“I was utterly terrified,” she said of her daughter who was born with congenital heart disease.
“Thankfully, the surgery was successful and today she is healthy and active with her representative netball team.”
Eight children every day are born with a congenital heart disease, and tragically four children die every week from this insidious condition.
Little did the Forster grandmother realise this situation would arise again when the youngest of her five children’s daughter was born with life threatening heart defects.
At just four-years the youngster has already endured six heart operation, she went into heart failure at just two-months-old and during one hospital stay spent 45 days in intensive care.
“After multiple surgeries by her skilled medical team, an enormous amount of courage and sheer determination to live, and the utter devotion of her incredible mumma, our beautiful cherished princess warrior has emerged happy and healthy.”
A mechanical mitral heart valve and a pacemaker have kept the little girl alive.
Seeing your love ones battle heart disease is extremely traumatic and we can honestly say having the support of HeartKids made a huge difference for us
As she grows and her organs develop, Melinda’s grand-daughter will be subjected to more life saving surgery, including changing batteries for her pacemaker.
Along their journey, Melinda, her daughter and grand-daughter have been supported by HeartKids Australia, a registered health charity which provides moral and monetary support to families of children with heart disease.
The charity also help children’s hospitals and researchers through donations of money, equipment and research grants.
“Seeing your love ones battle heart disease is extremely traumatic and we can honestly say having the support of HeartKids made a huge difference for us.”
Next week, July 22-23 Melinda will showcase for sale more than 100 pieces of art from recognised artists.
Works of art at the Art and Heart Show at the Tuncurry Memorial Hall, are a selection from Melinda’s private collection pulled together over the past seven years.
Entry is a gold coin collection with refreshments and raffles and a silent auction of a Brett Whitely signed print.
Money raised will be donated to HeartKids Australi.