In 1980, Linda Davies and Michelle Mann met in Greenlane Hospital. Their newborn babies were suffering from major heart problems. Sadly, both children died in 1981. From their experiences, Linda and Michelle realised there was very little information available for parents of a heart child, so they decided to write a book.
After leaving hospital Linda and Michelle spent a great deal of time researching and speaking with other families with a heart child. In 1983 the book "Heart Children" was published and made available free to parents of children who had a heart condition. Please contact [email protected] if you would like more information about our resources..
But their journey was not to end with a book. Linda and Michelle soon found themselves acting in a much-needed support role to other families "going through" Greenlane Hospital. Over a period of time, as families returned to their own part of New Zealand, a network of support groups was established.
This network was co-ordinated by the Auckland group who formalised themselves as Heart Children Incorporated in 1984. The organisation has continued to grow and with advancements in medical and surgical techniques more adults are living with a congenital heart defect (CHD) than children. For this reason, help and support was extended to heart children throughout their lives.
In 2014, the organisation changed its name to Heart Kids New Zealand, marking an exciting development for this long-standing organisation.
Integral to Heart Kids' founding principle of peer-to-peer support is its network of affiliated branches and support groups. They work together with the National Office to deliver programmes and services in their local community.
Visit our Local Branches for your nearest group.
Left: Michelle Mann and Linda Davies, founders of Heart Children and co-authors of the book “Heart Children”.