Heart warriors and angels were celebrated at Port Macquarie's Two Feet and a Heartbeat walk in honour of the lives lost to congenital or acquired heart disease in Australia every week.
The two kilometre walk from Town Green on Sunday, September 8, was organised by Port Macquarie mum Caitlin Walter. Her connection to congenital heart disease started when she was 18 weeks pregnant with her daughter Kylah.
"When I was 18 weeks pregnant I was told my unborn baby had a hole in her heart during a ultrasound," Ms Walter said.
"Further investigation from the cardiologist showed that she had Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD) which meant there was a large piece of her heart missing, which also meant she would need open heart surgery at around five months old.
"Kylah went into heart failure at two months old and had heart surgery at three months old and went on to have six other surgeries during the first year and spent months in hospital.
"She ended up have lots of complications during heart surgery which lead to her needing a mechanical mitral valve and a pacemaker."
Ms Walter said her daughter will continue to need heart surgeries as she grows. Kylah's is due to her having Down Syndrome. it affects 50% of babies born with the condition.
"This is a very good cause as eight babies are born with a heart defect everyday in Australia. Heart disease is the biggest killer in kids under one and each week, four young lives are lost as a result of heart disease, added Caitlin.
Lisa Ellis's seven-year-old son, Leo was born with heart problems and she and husband, Cam started the walk in Queensland and it went national.
"We moved here, so we came today. It's a really good fundraiser for a great cause. Heartkids supported us when we were in hospital. Leo is doing really well now, though he still needs a lot of medical check-ups and medication three times a day," she said.
Samantha Wright is very grateful for the help Heartkids gave her family when daughter Ahzara was born with heart problems. They helped with meals, transport and vouchers when the family were at the hospital for nine months.