When Blackfriars students dress as superheroes later this month, it will be for a cause close to the school’s heart.
On Friday 17 June, Blackfriars will take part in Hero 4 HeartKids Day, with students, teachers and staff encouraged to dress up as superheroes to raise money for people affected by congenital heart disease (CHD).
Among those people is Mia Vella, the little sister of Year 5 student Liam and daughter of Parents & Friends member Belinda Vella.
“Mia was born with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which means she was born with a hole in between her left and right heart chamber and a tight pulmonary artery – the artery that runs from the heart to the lungs,” Ms Vella said.
“When Mia was two weeks old, on Christmas Eve, she was rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital, in Melbourne, for emergency surgery, when the oxygen levels in her blood fell to below 50%.
“As a family, we were in Melbourne for four weeks following Christmas, before returning to Adelaide, where Mia spent a further three days at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.”
A few months later, Mia was back in Melbourne for a 12-hour surgery to repair the hole in her heart and widen the pulmonary artery.
Aged 3, she had another eight-hour operation to further widen the artery.
“Mia’s heart is now fixed, however, her heart valve is leaking, which is something that will need to be fixed, but hopefully not until she is 12 years old,” Belinda said.
“So, her journey is not over yet.”
Hero 4 HeartKids
Ms Vella said HeartKids had helped Mia and the family every step of the way, providing a dedicated support officer and contributing to the costs of accommodation.
“HeartKids also provide Mia with heart beads. which are given to her for each procedure and test she has done,” she said.
“The beads are strung on a long string and represent her journey, so she can see what she has been through and what she has overcome.
“But, most important of all, HeartKids raises money for vital research so that hospital procedures can be improved to generate better outcomes for kids and hopefully find a cure for CHD.”
On 17 June, Blackfrairs students, teachers and staff will be encouraged to dress as superheroes – or wear casual clothes – for a $2 donation, with prizes for the class that raises the most money.
There will also be a cake stall in Frassati Hall at lunchtime and a competition to guess the number of South Australian families HeartKids currently supports ($1/guess).
Every day, eight babies are born with a heart defect.
- One in every 100 babies in Australia has a heart defect.
- There is no known cure