LOOKING at baby Henry Sandison, you would never guess the 11-month-old was born without the centre of his heart.
The bubbly baby spent the start of his life in intensive care on painkillers, surrounded by tubes and life-support machines, and has been through three open-heart surgeries.
The Balcatta community has rallied together to support the family with the help of charity organisation Mondo Community Warriors, which will host a fundraiser to help ease the financial burden on the child’s family.
Mother Lauren Woodland Sandison said her son needed to have a metal
“Instead of having four heart chambers, all the blood came in via the main artery and it all mixed and all went out mixed,” she said.
“We went into surgery three times; each time was extraordinarily difficult, I wanted to vomit at the thought of handing him over for that.
“It was an 11-hour procedure and at one point he flatlined, but we got him back and he was operated on in ICU.”
Mrs Woodland Sandison, husband Dave and four-year-old daughter Violet put their lives on hold for the period Henry spent in intensive care.
“He was sedated for over a month; your life stops,” Ms Woodland Sandison said. “I stayed in there most of the time because when I came out, I was overwhelmed by having to make small everyday decisions and choices.
“We’ve been blessed with this wonderful, smiling boy with an easy-going personality but it took us quite a long time to reintegrate into normal life.”
Henry will require more open-heart surgery to replace the valve as he grows, which will be financially draining on the family.
Mondo Community Warriors founder Vince Garreffa said his nephew told him about the family.
“It was noticed because they weren’t the types that were running around asking for help,” he said. “They were just trying to survive and had sold their house because of the expenses coming up and both not being able to work.
“Vasto Club offered their venue and the committee unanimously voted to help out such a good cause.”