“It’s not game over, it’s just a different journey”
Born with a rare congenital heart condition, doctors didn't think Emma-Kate would survive into adulthood. But she's consistently proved the doctors wrong, and is keen to share her hope with others.
Emma-Kate doesn’t remember her first heart event – she was just a week old at the time. But her mother vividly remembers Christmas Eve 1974 when she found her week-old infant blue in her crib.
"It was really weird," says Emma-Kate. "The cat was creating a real racket outside my room and so Mum went in to see what was going on and I was blue. That’s when they discovered I had gone into cardiac failure."
Emma-Kate was rushed to hospital in the Hawkes Bay and then flown to Greenlane Hospital in Auckland.
Her parents were told that their daughter had a rare, life-threatening condition called Truncus Arteriosus, which meant the structure of her heart hadn’t formed correctly.
Repair surgery was successfully carried out a couple of weeks later by pioneering New Zealand heart surgeon Sir Brian Barratt-Boyes. The family then remained in Auckland for six months before the medical team were happy for them to return home.