Brave little girl to undergo open heart surgery
A SUNSHINE Coast mother will clutch her daughter's hand and whisper "it will be OK" in the final moments before her little girl goes in for invasive but lifesaving open heart surgery.
Marli Gerrard, a normally "cheeky and vibrant" one-year-old girl, has had a tough welcoming in the world, one fraught with problems.
Born to proud parents Olivia Treherne, 20, and Baylee Gerrard, 21, she was found to have two holes in her heart, later confirmed as a Ventricular Septal Defect.
Doctors had hoped the holes would close over but later advised the family they had begun to leak and cause her aortic valve to prolapse.
On April 20, their brave little girl will undergo open heart surgery to essentially put patch over the hole.
Ms Treherne said letting go of her daughter's hand will be the hardest day of her life.
Marli will spend seven to 10 days in hospital and another 8-12 weeks at home for recovery.
"We'll be in the room with her and I will make sure she will go to sleep on a happy note," Ms Treherne said.
"I can't show her that mummy is stressing. I have to keep it together for her.
"Marli is such a happy little girl, she's always been vibrant, always smiling even with cords hooked up to her.
"Even when she has to go into hospital, she always goes up to the people she knows and touches their heart."
After the surgery, Marli will need 24/7 care and comfort.
Doctors have warned the family to be careful when picking her up as it can cause her a "world of pain".
Ms Treherne will be unable to work for sometime putting the young couple, on one source of income, under financial stress.
The young couple are living with Olivia's sister Sam Harrison at Coolum Beach who has taken it upon herself to set up a crowd funded campaign.
It can be found at Marli's Open Heart Surgery on GoFundMe where more than $3500 has been raised by more than 50 donors.
"They're just the most beautiful couple, the kind of people who would give you the shirt off their back," Ms Harrison said.
"My sister's a mess, she puts on a brave face but she is doing it tough. It's been a really long road for them.
"It makes me cry just thinking about them. They're so undeserving of this.
"Baylee is working six days a week to provide for the family. They're just so kind and generous."