from the heart

from the heart

Thanks to the Royal Queensbury Corporate Challenge, children suffering from congenital and acquired heart disease have a brighter future.

The words ‘congenital heart disease’ are enough to scare any parent, but for Sylvia, hearing her unborn baby’s diagnosis was truly heartbreaking. Her son, Leon, was first detected with complex congenital heart disease in utero at just 20 weeks. Now at 17 months, Leon has already undergone major heart surgery and has a pacemaker. His heart and lungs are connected by a tube and he requires regular medication to help reduce the pressure. But despite everything, Sylvia says that Leon is a remarkably happy baby. “He enjoys interacting with others and is an inspiration to all that know and love him,” she says.

Congenital heart defects refer to problems with the heart’s structure and function caused by abnormal development before birth. Problems in the interior walls, valves, or arteries and veins cause changes to the flow of blood through the heart and around the body. Born with his heart up-side down and on the right-hand side, Leon’s condition is very complex with severe, potentially life-threatening symptoms.

Leon requires close monitoring, regular check-ups and often lengthy hospital stays. “Although it is tiring and stressful to constantly have to take your child to hospital, you do what you have to do and the fact that we get so much joy from Leon, it’s a small price to pay,” says Sylvia.

Recently, thanks to funds raised at the Royal Queensbury Corporate Challenge (RQCC) event in Perth, a Cardiac Transducer Package was purchased for Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) that will make a significant difference to complex cardiac surgical procedures. RQCC is an exclusive white-collar charity boxing experience and monies raised at this black tie event from boxing bout predictors, auction items, wish fulfilments and sales of Box Magazine subscriptions go directly to filling specific grants through ToyBox.

All patients in the Children’s Cardiac Centre within PMH will now have access to this vital piece of medical equipment, which consists of three probes used during cardiac surgery and will ultimately reduce the number of children travelling interstate for treatment. Jim Ramsay, Head of Cardiology at PMH explains, “the first probe works in conjunction with a state-of-the art ultrasound machine, used to view the heart function of small babies. The remaining two probes are used to measure the thickness of vessels and blood flow. The Transducer Package will ensure that children and their families can feel confident that they have access to the best current equipment to facilitate both cardiac operations and research.” For Leon’s very complex condition, the availability of such advanced technology is vitally important. “It is pleasing to know that having access to the package will greatly increase Leon’s chances. We are extremely grateful to ToyBox for making it possible for children like Leon to have a better quality of life,” said Sylvia.

You can help other children like Leon suffering from congenital and acquired heart disease by subscribing to Box Magazine today. Look out for RQCC events coming to your state in 2010. For more information call us on 1300 BOX MAG or visit boxmagazine.com.au