Holly’s story

Holly spent her first 125 days of life in hospital with a life-threatening heart condition.

During a scan at just 21 weeks pregnant, Tamara and Simon Jackson received the devastating news that something was wrong with their baby. A follow-up scan at 25 weeks, diagnosed their unborn baby with Hypoplastic left heart complex, a condition which causes the left side of the heart to hardly function.

As soon as Holly was born, she had several scans to assess exactly what condition her heart was in. But on day two, Holly’s heart crashed and she required five minutes of CPR when her little heart stopped pumping blood around her body. Once CPR was complete and she was stabilised, Holly was sent straight to the operating theatre for her first open-heart surgery.

By three months old, Holly had already endured two life-saving operations on her tiny heart.

In May this year, brave Holly who is now four, had her third open-heart surgery.  Following four weeks in hospital, Holly was allowed to go home and is now back at kindy and doing amazingly well.

“I’m so surprised at the difference. Before surgery, she would get tired very easily, look blue, and couldn’t walk without getting puffed. Today she is absolutely loving life, she can jump for the first time ever so is bunny hopping everywhere.

We have noticed a difference in her gross motor skills and she’s so much more confident and willing to try new things. There is no stopping her” said Holly’s mum Tamara.

“During our hospital stay, the volunteers at the hospital were amazing support. Before her surgery, they were there to distract and play with her, and after surgery, they would come to play at the bedside.

The volunteers would bring books to borrow, and the toy loan centre was a great resource providing much-needed distraction and entertainment. She especially loved it when Nanook, the therapy dog would visit.  All these things all made a hard time in hospital just that bit nicer and easier and got her smiling again.”

Sadly, there is no cure for Holly’s condition, and she will need to continue with regular check-ups, and faces the possibility of further interventions and surgery later in life.

But for now, she is a happy little girl full of big hugs and kisses and doing amazingly well.

Thanks to you, we can continue to give parents like Tamara hope, by funding vital medical research into childhood conditions.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation funds equipment and provides services to help sick kids now, as well as investing in research to help thousands of children in the future.

Story written and details correct November 2019

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