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Each week a lifelong battle awaits 12 little kiwis born with heart defects

Maya 6 years old Loves: Tennis

Born at 31 weeks 5 days, alongside her twin sister, weighing just 1070g Maya had a turbulent entry into the world and spent her first few days in intensive care. However, her heart condition went undetected until she was 9 days old, when she started turning grey and mottled. Rushed back into intensive care she was diagnosed with an aortic coarctation (narrowing of the aorta) and a Patent Ductose Arteriosus (PDA).

Maya was so little open-heart surgery was out of the question until she weighed at least 3kg. In the meantime, a temporary fix was done. It lasted 3 weeks and then her broken heart failed once more. Maya had to fight against all odds to survive!

At 3 months old she was finally big enough for her open-heart surgery which for the moment has fixed her heart. However regular cardiac checkups are still, and will continue to be, required.

Because of her multiple heart surgeries and her very low birth weight Maya has ended up with a multitude of other medical conditions, a list that seems never ending and provides daily challenges for her family. Her heart may be mended for the moment, but she will never operate at 100% like her peers.

She smiles and laughs. She loves tennis, swimming and building things, dressing up, singing, dancing and baking. In many ways she is just a typical 7-year-old girl. But her scars reveal there is more to her than meets the eye.

Heart Kids have been there for Maya and her family from the beginning. Mum Rebecca says, “I don’t care to imagine how lonely the journey would have been without Heart Kids. The most important thing Heart Kids offers is their assistance, empathy and unwavering support during a family’s darkest days. And one day we look forward to Maya being able to attend Camp Brave Heart with her heart peers where she won’t have to feel ‘different’”.

Operations in total

Three for her heart including open-heart surgery at only 3 month old. One for her airway, two for gastric, and one grommet.

Days in hospital

That equals 7 months or 32 weeks in total.

Future - Promising

She smiles and laughs. She loves tennis, swimming and building things, dressing up, singing, dancing and baking

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