Supporting families at Christmas
Thank you so much for your interest in supporting the thousands of Aussie families affected by congenital/childhood heart disease.
As we approach Christmas and the new year, I can’t help but reflect on seeing first-hand the impact HeartKids is having on heart families. I would like to take this moment to acknowledge the important people who've helped us continue the work that we do.
None of this would be possible without our generous and kind supporters, and the HeartKids Family Support Team who are on the front-line supporting those most in need.
I would also ask you to take a moment to remember our Heart Angels and their families during this time of reflection, they are in our thoughts and prayers and will never be forgotten.
I know first-hand that the Family Support Teams across the country work extra hard to bring a bit of Christmas to the children and their families distributing Christmas gifts and hampers to families in the cardiac wards as well as those at home who may be doing it tough.
And because Christmas is an especially important time for heart families, they also hold Christmas lunches and parties for families in hospital and in regional areas, even cutting out paper snowflakes to decorate the ward and bringing smiles to the children’s faces.
This is of course, on top of being available by phone or on ward, for patients and families (numerous from interstate) who are spending this Christmas and New Year period in hospital.
As you can imagine, it can be a very difficult time of year for heart kids and their families, especially being separated from extended family and friends, so we try to make it as special as we can, by bringing the festivities to them.
This is just a small snap-shot of the fantastic work the Family Support Team do to support heart kid families during this holiday period, and I thought it would be very important to acknowledge their great dedication. I hope you will join me in thanking them for their unwavering work.
I've recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jodie, mum of heart kid Callie, who also wanted to express her gratitude to the Family Support Managers as well as those who choose to support HeartKids, for helping her family when she needed it most. Jodie's message was:
“When Callie was 7, she had open heart surgery to have the hole in her heart repaired. It was a very emotional year. It saw us go through a whole range of emotions, from shock, to fear, to anger, to guilt, to relief. Callie on the other hand was never scared, and she recovered very quickly from the surgery, surprising everyone, including the nurses and doctors!
While at the hospital, we were approached by a HeartKids Family Support Manager who helped us with all the information we needed, helped me with meals (being gluten intolerant, this was very appreciated!) as well as introduced me to another heart mum who lived near me.
They were more than happy to share their stories and experiences with us, which was so reassuring to know that we were surrounded by people who were also on heart journeys.
I am happy to say that Callie is now in Year 3 at a small school (of only 45 students!). Inseparable from her first love Eeyore from Winnie the pooh, and when she’s not cuddling Eeyore she’s able to take part in her favourite sport: gymnastics and cheerleading, doing puzzles and playing board games together.
I know that without the generosity of HeartKids' Family Support Managers, donors and supporters, HeartKids would not be able to support families like mine. So, thank you.”
You can read more about Callie's heartfelt story here.
On behalf of Jodie's family, our staff and Family Support Managers from across Australia, as well as the many other heart families you have helped through your generous support, I would like to thank you for all the support you have given us.
If you would like to send a Christmas gift towards helping heart families like Jodie's, you can do so by clicking here.
I look forward to updating you on our work early next year.