Australians spend more than $900 million on Valentine’s Day confectionary, dinners, flowers and trips. ISABELL PETRINIC meets a little boy waiting for a sweet heart of a different kind.
Adrian D'Amore has a hole in his heart and a narrow valve.
He is one of six babies born every day with childhood heart disease — and on Valentine's Day, people can help babies like him by donating to HeartKids' annual Sweetheart Day event.
His mother Kathryn D'Amore, of West Pennant Hills, hopes people will.
"I was ready for all the sleepless nights and the diaper changing, but not this," she said.
"I think it's important we raise awareness."
Mrs D'Amore said because of his heart condition, play time was like running a five-kilometre event.
"He's a happy, healthy boy otherwise, and keeping up with all his baby friends," she said.
"He loves splashing around with dad at bath time and hanging with Tyson [his pet dog], who he thinks is a live action toy."
Mrs D'Amore and her husband Tony are praying life will be different for their little boy after next week.
On February 12, eight-month-old Adrian is having open heart surgery at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, to correct the heart defects he was born with.
The hospital conducts more than 550 cardiac surgeries and 220 cardiac catheterisations (keyhole surgeries) each year.
"Many of the 550 surgeries involve cardiac bypass, which is when a perfusion team pumps oxygenated blood around the body through a heart-lung machine so that the heart can be stopped in order to operate on it," its spokeswoman said.
The Heart Centre for Children, within the hospital, is researching the genetics of some heart conditions, other factors that may contribute to congenital heart disease, and the effect of diagnosis on children and families.
It is also building a DNA bank and helping build a Fontan registry of patients with a special type of circulation called Fontan circulation.
■ Be a sweetheart and help HeartKids fight childhood heart disease: heartkids.org.au