Hi, I’m Holly and I am a Braveheart with Congenital Heart Disease. I was born with Aortic Stenosis which is a one of the most serious Congenital Heart Diseases, and in March 2017 I underwent my first lifesaving open heart surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast to replace my defective valve.  The surgery lasted a long 7 hours and I was in hospital for just over 6 weeks in total. My care is life long and I will need further surgery in around 10 Years’ time to replace my tissue valve. Until then, thanks to my ACHD Surgeons, Doctors and Nurses.

This was the toughest year of my life and I underwent not only physical but mental challenges along the way. During my time in hospital I was approached by Clare Caufield the founder of BraveheartsNI and from the moment I met Clare I suddenly felt not so alone in my journey.  BraveheartsNI provided me with support through visits when I had no visitors, helped me pay bills that I had but could not pay with being in hospital, supplying a TV for me to watch and keep my mind occupied and also providing a sofa bed for family members to stay on numerous nights throughout my weeks in hospital. These things were just priceless for me during that tough time and are just a slight insight to what this amazing charity does. 

2017 it was the toughest year of my life, but I wanted to ensure it was the best! I wanted to continue to feed my positive outlook and motivation so began training and only 8 months after my surgery I complete the Lough 5 event which is a 5mile run. This was the first time I had been able to run safely since I was a young child.  

I am very fortunate to be fit and able to live a happy and fulfilled life so much so, that in 2018 I embark on journey where I began traveling firstly Asia and then moving on to Australia.