Stories of Hope

20 Feb 2018

"Jaden", HeartKids Australia & UnLtd

Being born with a congenital heart defect has had a significant impact on my life in what I thought I could do, but with the support of HeartKids and being around other young people like me I realised what I can achieve out of my life.

At six days of age I was diagnosed with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome and spent the first ten years of my life having several major open-heart surgeries and countless stays in hospital. At age 11, I then developed another heart complication. I didn’t like being different. I was a little girl who just wanted to be normal like the other kids in my class and wanted to do what everyone else was doing. I was always asking my parents, “Why aren’t I good at sport, why can’t I get my ears pierced?” (which I later got done anyway under the watchful eye of my Cardiologist). “Why can’t I do this, why can’t I do that?”. “Why me?” (that phrase was one I asked a million times).

I was never teased or bullied at school because of my “zipper” or my heart condition; in fact everyone was really good to me and never made me feel left out. I suppose having half a heart was kind of a cool thing to brag about, but not being able to compete in school sports or run around the oval always made me feel different, like I was missing out on something.

In 2010, at age 15 I went to my first ever HeartKids teen camp – and for the first time, I realised I was not alone. Since then I’ve stopped wanting to change who I am. I started believing in myself more and I have became much more aware of not only my limitations, but of how far I can push myself to succeed.

I am undeniably proud of who I am. I’m proud to be a Heartkid. I’m proud to share my story in the hopes with other Heartkids in hope that it might help someone else realise that they really can achieve everything they set out to do, despite being born with a congenital heart defect.

About HeartKids Australia:

Through camps, support, information and advocacy and driving world-class research, HeartKids Australia improves the lives and futures of those affected by childhood heart disease.

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