Heather's Heart Story
Heather Fairley was born in Huntly hospital in 1987.
The daughter of Natalia and Francis, Heather was a very sickly child. Despite numerous trips backwards and forwards to the hospital, doctors were very slow to pick up any issues. However, there is nothing stronger than a mother’s intuition and Natalia Fairley kept on insisting something was not right.
Finally, doctors ran tests. It was soon discovered Heather had seven holes in her tiny heart. She was immediately sent to Greenlane Hospital’s Cardiology ward.
Heather was diagnosed with Multiple ventricular septal defects and Ventricular Ectopy. Doctors also discovered Heather had Aicard syndrome, a rare genetic condition that occurs almost exclusively in women. Aicardi syndrome is characterized by the partial or complete absence of a key structure in the brain called the corpus callosum, the presence of retinal abnormalities, and seizures in the form of infantile spasms.
At the age of 7 years, Heather underwent surgery to close the holes in her heart.
After completing school, Heather worked as a receptionist at Heart Kids for two years. She then went on to complete her NZ Certificate in Skills for living at UNITEC in Auckland.
While she still battles with heart issues Heather doesn’t let them get in the way of living a normal life. She has now returned to Heart Kids, volunteering in the Auckland office. She willingly undertakes some of the more mundane tasks that pile up and slow people down.
"Heart Kids is like a family to me, they have been such an important source of support both in the hospital and in the community and have advocated for me on many occasions. It is a pleasure to be able to give back and i love coming into the heart Kids office and feeling part of the team."