Holly, Heart Kid
Holly Saunders was born on Australia Day in 2003 at Randwick. We travelled a long way from home for her arrival as she had a special heart and needed to be close to specialist medical teams that could provide her with the best help should it be required. Luckily, she birthed naturally with no complications or intervention needed.
Holly was born with tricuspid atresia, transposition of the greater arteries, ventricular septal defect and diagnosed later, double outlet left ventricle. She had a pulmonary banding at 2 weeks of age, Glenn at 21 months and an unfenestrated Fontan at 8 years. Holly developed Chylothorax after the last two surgeries which greatly restricted her fat intake for three months post surgery. Holly’s oxygen saturations were consistently in the mid to low 80’s prior to her Fontan completion. Her oxygen is now in the mid 90’s.
Holly was diagnosed with a tethered spinal cord when she was age 4. She crawled and walked normally but she developed spasticity in her legs as she grew. She had spinal surgery at age 5 but it has not undone all of the damage.
Post Fontan, Holly showed her passion and desire for sport. She got stronger and stronger till she was ready to play and learn sport with others. She has played basketball, swimming, soccer but her current passion is track and field athletics.
Since 2012 Holly was classified and now competes as a T/F35 para athlete ( they only recognise her legs as a disability) in 100m, 200m, shot put, discuss and long jump. She is a National champion many times over and in March 2017 gained an International classification and broke the World Record for F35 Long Jump. However, you probably won't hear much about it as she is very humble and she is a little unknown just making a mark on the world. Holly hopes one day soon to compete overseas and would love to be an advocate for congenital heart disease to see it recognised with its own classification in para sport.