When baby Ollie was born in 2016, it was a relief to have him earthside. He had been diagnosed with multiple types of congenital heart defects when his mum, Taylah was 12 weeks pregnant.
“I was told his heart was significantly damaged and the early outlook did not look good. Then the 20 weeks scan showed extensive and severe damage and I was told it might not be worth continuing (the pregnancy). He did not have a fighting chance,” says Taylah.
So far, Ollie has had eight heart surgeries, seven of which before the time he was six months old and one recently which occurred in December 2020. In total, he has endured 25 surgeries.
“He will need a transplant, it’s just a matter of time. It would be months off, it could be years, but it will need to happen.
Ollie’s heart conditions have impacted the family emotionally, which made everyday life was challenging. His mother was anxious about leaving him or even with his grandparents in fear that something might happen. Taylah could not return to work full time due to Ollie’s heavily restricted energy levels and he does not cope with multiple days in kindergarten.
Despite everything he has gone through, Ollie is a happy, loving child and has even developed a passion for physical activities – going to the skate park is particularly joyous.
Taylah is grateful for HeartKids, which has helped the family financially with Ollie’s first long stays in hospital.
During February, Ollie and his family are encouraging everyone to buy a special $5 HeartKids beads bracelet in support for families affected by congenital heart disease. The bracelets symbolise the beads that many of our heart kids receive during hospital stays, with each distinctive bead standing for a specific challenge, procedure, or treatment that children with CHD have endured.