MERRY CHRISTMAS: Sienna Belle (left) and mum Karen Beutel prepare for Sienna's life-saving heart surgery.
MERRY CHRISTMAS: Sienna Belle (left) and mum Karen Beutel prepare for Sienna's life-saving heart surgery. Kevin Farmer

Christmas a nice distraction from '50/50' surgery

SIENNA Belle and her family enjoyed Christmas as much as possible, knowing the New Year will bring plenty of uncertainty.

Born with a congenital heart condition that doctors fear would not see her survive past her first birthday, seven-year-old Sienna's journey struck a chord with readers through The Chronicle's story in October.

Two months later, mum Karen Beutel said the family made the most of the Christmas period, with young Sienna booked in for surgery that had a 50/50 shot at saving her life in 2018.

"She got everything she wanted," Ms Beutel said. "It is still a bit scary because nothing is guaranteed so we're just focused on enjoying Christmas now."

Sienna's complicated surgical procedure means she will not be able to continue schooling when the school year starts up again after the Christmas break.

Being at her healthiest she has ever been, doctors have decided now is the best time to give it a shot.

"Unfortunately she won't commence Year Two with her friends and survival of surgery is 50/50," Ms Beutel's post on GoFundMe said.

"However, I need to try anything to prolong her life and these upcoming operations are our only chance. The next seven weeks will be all about making memories, fun and lots of hugs for Sienna, who is especially excited about celebrating her eighth Christmas."



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