Haven’t they been through enough already?

If you want a positive life story – meet Paris. This 18-year-old is sitting her HSC exams, in the middle of a pandemic. Late last year, she also raised money to supply medical equipment to 5 hospitals around Australia. Next year she will begin university, to fulfil her goal of becoming a High School Biology teacher. 

This inspiring and passionate teenager tells us “I have a burning desire to give back to those who gave her a chance at life”.

But Paris is only with us today because of funding from you and people like you.

Christmas, 18 years ago, it was a very different story. Paris was fighting for life. Born at just 28 weeks and weighing just 410 grams she was being cared for by Dr Martin Kluckow – whose work with heart function in premature babies has been funded by Heart Research Australia for over 23 years. 

Fortunately, after 3 months, Paris left hospital and has grown into the wonderful teenager she is today.

End of the story right? 

Wrong. Unknown to many young adults like Paris, they are now facing another threat. One which there is little known about and if left unchecked could be potentially life threatening. 

That’s why we need your help, as these beautiful young adults have been through enough in their lives already.

Every year in Australia, there are 26,000 babies born pre-term. And, while they may not know it yet, for some of these babies their fight for life won’t end when they leave hospital. 

Dr Eveline Staub, a colleague of Dr Kluckow, is undertaking research to compare full and preterm babies over a year, to test the concept that the small blood vessels don’t grow and develop as well for  those babies born pre-term.

This puts their bodies at risk of higher blood pressure  and strains the heart muscle, as it has works hard  to  pump blood into the too few and too narrow small blood vessels. By the time these babies grow into teenagers, and as their bodies get bigger and muscles develop, there are more functional demands on their hearts, which  can lead to heart failure.

Dr Staub still estimates we are looking at around 25,000 to 30,000 Australians who may be affected and are frighteningly unaware. 

If this hypertension goes unrecognised it could be a tragedy waiting to happen for families and it poses a significant burden on our health care system.

Which is why it is so important to identify the causes and raise awareness among these patients, their families and their medical carers.

So, this Christmas could you please donate to this research such to complete the cycle because as Dr Staub’s, says, “at the end of the day my goal is not only to save these beautiful babies, but to ensure, like Paris, they go onto have full and healthy lives”.

Thank you and wishing you a very Merry Christmas.