Have a heart – give generously to Heart Kids
5th June 2018
HEART KIDS APPEAL WEEK JUNE 4TH- JUNE 10TH
Aged just two years old, little Luna Clark has spent more time in a hospital bed than many adults. The granddaughter of Kiwi cycling great Stephen Swart, Luna was born with a major heart defect. At 36 weeks pregnant her parents, Olivia and Donovan were given three options: to terminate, palliative care, or if she was a candidate after birth, a series of surgeries.
For Olivia, the decision was simple. They had to give their little girl a fighting chance. Now aged two, Luna Clark has undergone three open heart surgeries, with a fourth coming up, and she could ultimately face a heart transplant in the future.
Luna is one of the 12 babies born every week in New Zealand with a heart defect. A CHD (congenital heart defect) is the #1 cause of death in babies and infants and affects more than 600 new families a year.
Thankfully, standing by their side, through every traumatic diagnosis and surgical procedure, is Heart Kids – the only not-for-profit organisation in New Zealand dedicated to supporting heart children, otherwise known as ‘born fighters’, throughout their lives.
This week, (June 4th – 10th) Heart Kids is appealing to the New Zealand public for donations to help them continue their dedicated and much needed support for Kiwi kids like Luna.
Rob Lutter, CEO of Heart Kids New Zealand, says: “Every year, more than 600 major heart surgeries are performed on children or babies, sometimes in their first few hours of life.
For many, this won’t be their last operation and they will continue to face the day-to-day challenges associated with their heart condition – and that’s what we are here for. While there are surgical procedures that can improve the heart’s function, there is neither a prevention nor cure for a CHD.”
Heart Kids has over 8000 members and is growing by 15 per cent each year. They provide heart children and their families with practical, emotional and psycho-social services – be it an information brochure, specialist equipment, leadership development for heart youth and adults, specialised camps for heart kids, an opportunity to connect with other families or a hot meal for hospital-bound families.
For little Luna’s parents. Heart Kids has been invaluable. “They’ve made us feel like we’re not alone. And the events they put on have allowed us to meet so many other families, which is the best part. To meet families who “get it” and who can actually relate to what you’re saying and going through is huge.”
This week, Heart Kids is appealing to Kiwis to donate generously to help them provide much-needed support to New Zealand children born fighting CHD.
Heart Kids receives no funding from the government and needs your help. You can donate to Heart Kids on the website, www.heartkids.org.nz
Alternatively, a $3 donation can be made by texting HEART to 2427.