Heart Adult Winona D'Costa

From Heart Kid to Heart Helper

My journey began 10 years ago, when I had heart surgery. I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia. During my most first surgery I don’t remember what happened but I do remember the people. The medical staff showed me warmth and love. One memory I have was being shown my procedure on dolls by the then play specialist at Ward 23B. During my stay on the ward I visited the playroom, received lots of goodies from Radio Lollipop and participated in lessons at the school. I vowed one day I would return to volunteer in some capacity.

10 years later, I have returned to Starship hospital as a play room volunteer in the child cancer ward. I have been touched by the joy and the strength of these kids. Seeing what they go through and what they will have to go through is emotionally challenging. During summer I have committed to extra volunteering shifts and support myself with a part-time job to pay for the transport costs. One day, I’d like to return as a proper play specialist for the child cancer ward or the child heart ward.

I’ve been blessed to go on camps organised by Heart Kids NZ and  was also nominated by Heart Kids to go on a trip to Disneyland with the charity, Koru Care. For a long time, I couldn’t come to terms with having a heart condition that is not curable. I was angry and constantly asked ‘why me?’ Last year I finally came to terms with it and wanted to thank Heart Kids NZ for their support.

Currently, I am finishing off my Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Commerce conjoint degree at the University of Auckland finishing in July 2018. I’m due for a fourth open heart surgery in the near future but I’m looking forward to not having to study and spending time watching cricket, writing and job hunting.