Sam’s story

Looking at Sam as he rides the waves on the Gold Coast, it is hard to imagine what the 12-year-old has been through, and what his future holds.

Sam, who was born with three heart defects, had a pacemaker inserted earlier this year after tests showed his heart was beating abnormally.

He was reluctant at first, but in typical Sam fashion, he turned the situation into a positive one by combining his heart condition with a passion for Greek mythology.

Sam created his own superhero, Colt, whose superpower is the medical device that helps his own heart function – and for Colt makes him a well-respected demigod of the sea.

Despite his heart conditions since birth, Sam has never let that stop him.

He was just six weeks old when he had his first of four open-heart surgeries.

His mum Natalie explained the pacemaker will make a significant difference to Sam’s health, but that is not the end for surgeries.

“As he gets older he will have to have more surgeries to replace the valves, because they do have a limited lifespan,” Natalie said. “But, he will be able to maintain a good lifestyle.”

Natalie was about 34 weeks pregnant when a scan revealed an enlarged heart. Sam was born with an atrial septal defect – a hole in the wall that separates the two upper chambers of the heart.  He also had two deformities in two valves on the right side of his heart – the pulmonary and tricuspid valves.

Looking at Sam, Natalie only feels proud.

He loves contact sports, but has to take it easy to protect the pacemaker. “He is currently restricted to surfing, paddle boarding and snorkeling,” she said.

“Sam has always been an active child despite his heart abnormalities and is vibrant, happy-go-lucky and always on the go.”

Sam has spent many periods of time in hospital during his young life. But, as always, uses the experience to make friends and try new things.

Sam is one of 19 ambassadors for the Woolworths Regional Wall Tokens campaign.

By purchasing a $2 wall token from now until the end of September, you are helping fund equipment and programs in your local hospital, which help families like Sam’s through an emotional, stressful, and at times uncertain journey.

Woolworths Regional Wall Tokens is an opportunity to highlight some of the brave kids throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales, who you can help by purchasing a wall token.

Other ways you can help

Everything we do for sick and injured kids is made possible by the generosity and support of our donors, partners and the community.