Aurora is one of the faces of the Sweetheart Day campaign.
Aurora was born to the Carroll family on the 4th of June 2020. Her parents' lives changed in a heartbeat when Benjamin and Julia found out about her heart defects at their pre-natal 20-week scan. Aurora was diagnosed with a double outlet right ventricle with a large VSD.
When Aurora was born, she became terribly unwell, and surgery felt like it came out of the blue. At almost 6 weeks old, Aurora underwent open-heart surgery and as new parents, the Carroll's found the whole ordeal very distressing in the lead-up to surgery and afterwards.
With COVID restrictions at the time, only one parent was allowed to be in the hospital. Julia had to go solo most of the time, which was stressful in itself.
The family was prepared for the surgery, but Aurora's recovery did not quite go to plan. The surgery was a little too much for her little body to handle. Her recovery was complicated, and she had a period of time on ECMO. The family thought they were losing her, but the incredible team at the Children's Hospital at Westmead saved her life. What was thought to be a 10-day stay, turned into just over 2 months as she navigated her recovery from surgery. She spent 2 of those weeks in intensive care and 2 weeks in the Edgar Stephen Ward.
Aurora is now a beautiful, happy, and thriving 18-month old who has made a miraculous recovery since her surgery and continues to do well. The Carroll family is grateful for the care and expertise of the medical teams that helped her and their friends and family for their unwavering support.
Aurora's mum said, "Aurora is a little fighter. She is small but mighty. She is such a strong and resilient little girl. She's got so much love to give. She is a little legend. She has taught us so much already but mainly to appreciate every day dan everyone you love."
Julia goes on to reflect on the HeartKids beads program, "the heart beads program really offered me a sense of purpose during our stay at Westmead and helped us understand Aurora's unique journey. It will be amazing to have the beads as a keepsake as Aurora grows up as they show a sense of achievement and help her to tell her story. The heart beads also show the courage and strength of Aurora and symbolise so many treatments and procedures she has been through and will give her strength to tackle future challenges."
Eight babies are born with congenital heart disease in Australia every day. Sadly, 4 babies die a week from the disease. Unfortunately, CHD is incurable, and the journey is far from over.
This Sweetheart Day, join us in the fight against congenital or childhood acquired heart disease and help raise awareness and funds. Help families like Aurora's.
Fundraise for us