ERYN Green’s (11) life started perfectly normal.
But at just 10 days old she suddenly became extremely lethargic, turned blue from the neck down and had trouble breathing.
She was rushed by ambulance to hospital, resuscitated twice en route, and placed on life support in an induced coma immediately.
After being transferred to a children’s hospital and after hours of testing, it was revealed Eryn had two congenital heart defects – ventricular septal defect (commonly known as a hole in the heart) and the “less common and much more serious” interrupted aortic arch.
Over the next six months she underwent three open heart surgeries, including one to receive a donor valve, to correct these defects and ensure she could live a “fairly normal and long life”.
“Our family has adjusted as well as can be expected with plenty of support from Heartkids WA, which means the world to us having emigrated to Australia from Zimbabwe and not really having any local extended family, and not knowing anyone else who had been through what we were going through with Eryn,” mum Jessica said.
“As she gets older and we attend each annual check-up with her paediatric cardiologist we feel more and more positive about her future and we certainly realise how lucky we are that she lives such a normal life, medication free, without restrictions and her prognosis is so good.”
Now the Banksia Grove family wants to give back to Heartkids WA, with Mrs Green by taking on the 12km run in this Sunday’s Run for a Reason.
“I want to show Eryn that anything is possible if you believe in yourself,” she said.
“She has seen my transformation over the past couple of years from an overweight, unhealthy mum to someone who takes pride and passion in my own health and fitness and is about to take part in my first ever event like Run for a Reason at the age of 40.
“I chose Heartkids WA to raise funds and awareness of a wonderful cause very personal to our families and plenty of others in WA.
“There is not enough awareness and understanding of how many children are born each day with congenital heart disease… and how much research is still required to figure out why there are so many babies affected and what can be done to detect and prevent through earlier intervention if possible.
“If the money we raise helps just one family get through the trauma we went through then we have done a good job.”
Donate at hbfrun2018.everydayhero.com/au/jess-green.
Also taking part is Carramar resident Sharon Whitehead who has been in and out of hospital her whole life because of chronic asthma.
When she was 19, she even suffered a burst lung from the condition and survived only because her mum performed CPR.
Since moving to WA from the UK, her asthma has become manageable and she is able to now run the Run for a Reason to raise money for Asthma Foundation WA.
“My message is that asthma may be common but can be so severe and even deadly if not treated adequately,” she said.
“Asthma Foundation WA deserves more support and hopefully if even one person is helped by me trying to raise awareness, it would all be worth it.”
The team at Specsavers Joondalup will also take part in the run to help raise the $35,000 required to raise and train a guide dog for a West Australian in need.
Guide Dogs WA community fundraising coordinator Lauren Shepherd said they were “very grateful” for the support.
“Their donations will allow us to make a real and meaningful difference to the lives of people who require a guide dog to go about everyday life without difficulty,” she said.
To support Team Jog for a Dog, visit guidedogswa-hbfrun.everydayhero.do.