Sweetheart Day this Sunday raises money for research into childhood heart disease.
It has been a fight for survival for Mandurah girl Amber Field, who was born with congenital heart disease.
Her mother Kirstin said she learnt her third baby had the condition during her 20-week scan.
“That was the day our world came crashing down; we wondered what the future held for our baby, our family,” she said.
“When Amber came into the world, we met her with only a brief cuddle before she was whisked away for testing.
“It was found that Amber’s heart condition was very complex.”
What followed were shunts inserted and several surgeries, including open heart surgery.
“Amber could not come off the heart-lung bypass machine used during the open heart surgery, her heart not strong enough to pump on its own,” Mrs Field said.
“So she went on to ECMO, a machine which acted as Amber’s heart and lungs to hopefully give her little heart time to recover.
“The next six days felt like the longest of our lives, with Amber’s life hanging in the balance.
“We were beside ourselves with worry.
“Not leaving her side, we stroked and talked to her in the hope that she would keep fighting for her life.”
The family were told Amber’s chances of survival were slim when she came off the machine.
Miraculously, her heart kicked into action and began working on its own.
“We were elated she had beaten the odds,” Mrs Field said.
Amber is now three years old and loves ballet dancing, the Wiggles, Peppa Pig, playing with her friends and all things chocolate.
She is an active girl, but does at times tire quickly and become breathless.
“Our superhero girl never ceases to astound us and all around her with her strong will, determination and zest for life,” Mrs Field said.
“She has taught us great strength and to take nothing in life for granted.”
Mrs Field said HeartKids had been a big support to her family.
“I now volunteer my time with another local heart mum as the Mandurah regional support co-|ordinators,” she said.
The team at Pinjarra Crane Hire were so moved by Amber’s story that they have pledged between $500 and $1000 to Sweetheart Day and will lace up their joggers for the Stroll for a Sweetheart.
The 2.2km walk is at Dianella open space, with registrations at 8am.