“I’d be in hospital and kids I saw regularly would suddenly not be there anymore. The realisation hit me at a very young age – sometimes you don't get lucky.”
These are thoughts no child should ever have, but a now 21-year-old Taylor vividly recalls her childhood spent in and out of hospital.
It started while Taylor was still in her mother’s womb. Doctors discovered she had only half a heart (a type of congenital heart disease), and her devastated parents were told not to hold out any hope of her survival.
But Taylor fought the odds against her. She came through open heart surgery at just three days old, the next at three years old, and then the many more that followed.
The fact is, Taylor is living with a ticking time bomb. One of the oldest people in Australia living with half a heart, she has no idea how much time she still has – or how her condition will impact her health and quality of life as she gets older.
And she’s not alone.
These innocent children will one day face the same daily worries and uncertain future that Taylor is living with right now.
Help give a future to people like Taylor
HRI is about to launch a groundbreaking initiative called the CH-FIT Program that could help give Taylor and people like her the hope they are looking for. Led by cardiologist Assoc Prof Rachel Cordina, this will be the largest study anywhere in the world to explore whether resistance training can improve heart function, lung growth, oxygen uptake, and ultimately life expectancy for people with congenital heart disease.
“People with half a heart have the most complex type of disease, the worst life expectancy, the worst health outcomes,” says Assoc Prof Cordina. “We really need hard data so we can develop safe guidelines for them.”
This research could have a profound, worldwide impact. The data collected during the pilot study is already changing international recommendations on exercise for people with congenital heart disease and has been cited by international bodies such as the American Health Association.
“I think that’s the most empowering thing that science can do,” Taylor says.
You can be part of this empowering, life-changing work. Please make a tax-deductible gift today to support critical research into heart disease. You can bring hope to people like Taylor – and help to give them a future.