Lily Leadbetter, Wellington
Lily was lucky to survive her first surgery - and the two after that…
Lily was born with a rare and incurable heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) and needed urgent surgery on her tiny heart as soon as she was born.
Seeing their beautiful newborn being wheeled away was heartbreaking for Lily's parents. Her mum Veronika remembers:
We didn't hold her for very long before surgery. There was about five minutes of tummy time, and then she was off to intensive care. It was very scary. Again and again Lily did not stop fighting from the minute she was born.
Veronika, Lily's mum
Lily's mum, dad and grandparents spent an anxious eight hours while Starship's team of specialists performed a delicate procedure on her tiny heart.
To everyone's enormous relief, Lily survived - and her heart kept beating.
Will you please donate today to help keep tiny hearts like Lily's beating?
HLHS is one of the most severe forms of heart defect, and at only 20 months old, Lily is a veteran of three major heart surgeries.
But Lily's parents know their little girl still has many challenges ahead, and may eventually need a heart transplant. But Lily is one 'tough little cookie' and continually amazes her parents with her incredible resilience. Again and again Lily did not stop fighting from the minute she was born. What an amazing little person, with the urge to survive and enjoy life with all the hurdles it has to offer.
Generous gifts from compassionate people, just like you, make it possible for Starship to give patients like Lily the latest, most advanced equipment possible.
This is something Veronika wrote for Lily to help her get through the hard days:
Every night I am grateful that we have you still with us and every night I wish for a new day with you. Every night I am scared of the future and thankful for the past and present. Every night I wish I could swap places with you and fight for my life and be as brave as you. Every night I close my eyes and I am waiting for you to wake me up with your beautiful smile and with those big blue eyes wide open filled with joy and happiness. Every night I feel honoured to be your mummy and that you have chosen me!
Veronika, Lily's mum