Stella Martin is a bubbly and joyful youngster despite her health problems. Picture: Tony Martin
Stella Martin is a bubbly and joyful youngster despite her health problems. Picture: Tony Martin

Super hero toddler Stella thriving despite the odds

LITTLE Stella Martin, 2, is bubbly, bright and full of the joys of life unaware that life has dealt her a rough hand from even before she was born.

The blue-eyed toddler, who has just learned to walk, was diagnosed with in-utero congenital heart disease during a pregnancy scan when her mother Maria was pregnant with her.

Her first surgery was at five days old, where she underwent an open heart procedure, her second was at 10 months for a subaortic membrane resection and her third was recently for a konno procedure, which was more severe and carried more risks.

Despite the operations and regular visits to Mackay Base Hospital the future is looking good with Stella as mischievous and playful as any regular toddler.

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"We recently had our one-month post operation review and everything looks very good and is working the way it should be," Mrs Martin said.

"Our cardiologists said there would be a 2-5 per cent chance of surgeries in future so she will go down to six-monthly reviews."

Mrs Martin said the family had initially been devastated when first finding out about Stella's condition, as her two elder siblings are healthy, but this had grown into acceptance and love.

Moreover Stella's condition has also brought the family closer together and taught them about having courage and being positive in the face of adversity.

Stella Martin and her mum Maria. Picture: Tony Martin
Stella Martin and her mum Maria. Picture: Tony Martin

"Overall it's been a positive educational experience for us and we've learnt a lot from Stella," Mrs Martin said.

The Martins yesterday joined well-known Queensland business leaders and Townsville families on HeartKids SuperBossDay to support kids living with CHD as they fight the biggest battle of their lives.

CHD is the leading cause of death and hospitalisation in infants with eight babies born everyday with CHD, a condition with no known cure.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of families have faced a series of delayed surgeries, total isolation, additional financial pressure, and emotional stress due to their high-risk situation.

HeartKids is helping by extending its out of hospital and virtual support services, and the peer support programs, so families feel less alone.

Another fundraising event will be held in October to support children with CHD and their families.

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