Heart-ly an ordinary kid

By Indi Fillery

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Bella McHarg has lived an extraordinary, and at times life-threatening journey, and she is only 10 years old. Read her story on resilience and durability during tough seasons in her life.

Born six weeks early to ecstatic parents Glen and Michelle, Bella was a welcome bundle of joy. After five days “earth-side” in the premature baby unit at King Edward Memorial Hospital, Bella’s doctors were concerned by her growth, or rather lack thereof. After some tests, the McHarg’s learned that Bella had congenital heart disease and a rare heart defect known as truncus arteriosus.

Bella’s condition was extremely serious, and she required open-heart surgery. Weighing in at less than two kilograms, the odds of her survival were stacked against her, and Michelle and Glen were devastated by the news.

“To say we struggled with the news was an understatement. How could our perfect little baby be so sick?” Michelle said.

The distraught couple asked close family members to come and say their goodbyes to Bella, expecting the worst. But being the fighter she is, Bella pulled through the surgery and her parents were over the moon.

“Our little Bella had beaten all the odds and made it through 10 hours of surgery! We couldn’t wait to see her,” Michelle said.

Bella’s battle wasn’t over though – she has had many subsequent surgeries throughout her life.

Fast forward to 2018 and 10-year-old Bella is working with Therapy Focus Speech Pathologist, Monique Sandral and Occupational Therapist Dayna Smith, to improve her literacy, self-care, speech, and handwriting skills.

“Bella has been on an extraordinary journey. She shared with me some pictures of herself looking back at her photos as a baby in hospital while she reminisced on the harder times in her life. She is a very resilient person, and she is making great gains in her therapy. We’re very proud”, Monique said.

Bella McHarg holding a photo album of her as a baby.

Pictured: Bella holding her photo album.

Bella also receives support from the team at HeartKids, who have been an incredible support to Bella and her family – especially in her first few years of life.

“We are lucky to have such wonderful family to help and support us, and when they can’t be there the lovely people from HeartKids are!” Michelle said.

Read about Bella’s first 18 months of life in a story shared by Michelle in the HeartKids newsletter.

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