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A letter from a heart mum to Shaun White.

Shaun White in action. What TOF?
Dear Shaun White,
We watched you on TV,  your winning run before claiming your gold medal.
Earlier in the day I had shown my son some pictures of you in action.
Of you receiving your medals. I turned to him and told him that you too, had the same "special heart" as him.
He looked up at me and back at the photo of you on the half pipe flying upside down through the air.
I told him you were proof he could be anything he wanted to be, he could do whatever he wanted to.
You may not feel a role model to other Tetralogy of Fallot sufferers but you are. Especially to us.
I will never forget three years ago when sitting in a hospital bed down the corridor from my son who was fighting for his life in NICU. We were told Elijah had TOF.
They didn't know if he would survive. He needed surgery, he may have future complications.
I hadn't even heard of CHD but it was the life sentence that had just been handed to my son, to us.
I shouldn't have but to try and reassure myself or to make sense of it I Googled CHD. I Googled TOF, I read thread upon thread about surgery procedures, success rates, others stories.
For some reason we looked up celebrities who had CHD to normalise what was happening to us. We read your name, and after your name was this word; Olympian.
That one word, made me look up your whole career.
We sat in awe about what you had achieved.
You gave us hope when we had none.
Whenever someone would ask how Elijah's condition would affect him we said it wouldn't, we said your name.
You are a symbol for us as a heart family.
Sometimes in the darkest days you need to hear a positive story to reignite your hope, to give you light, to make you believe that it might be okay.
You have shown us that our son can be what ever he wants to be.
(Currently a Firefighter but does want a gold medal now).
Thank you for giving us that hope, during the worse time of our lives.
I can only hope one day my son provides as much inspiration to others that you have.
From a mum to a TOF warrior.


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