HEART GIRL: Emmy Clark, 24, was born with the congenital heart disease pulmonary atresia. She is not eligible for a heart and lung transplant and requires frequent medical treatment in Brisbane so she is trying to raise funds to move there by herself.
HEART GIRL: Emmy Clark, 24, was born with the congenital heart disease pulmonary atresia. She is not eligible for a heart and lung transplant and requires frequent medical treatment in Brisbane so she is trying to raise funds to move there by herself. Contributed

After eight operations, Emmy needs our help

SHE'S continued to defy the odds and now she needs help to keep herself alive which requires relocating to Brisbane.

Rockhampton's Emmy Clark was born with a congenital heart disease and has had eight heart operations. She needs to move to Queensland's capital city to be closer to regular medical treatment at the Prince Charles Hospital.

The 24-year-old, who has pulmonary atresia and pulmonary hypertension, will be on her own for the first time when she moves after her mother, Robi, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and had a heart attack in August, leaving her too sick to care for Emmy.

Robi will stay in Rockhampton where family members can look after her while Emmy has a support network in Brisbane from when the pair lived there for two years before Robi got sick.

"Also, the temperature difference in Brisbane makes it easier on my condition," Emmy said.

"The heat here makes me struggle a lot."

The Morning Bulletin has watched Emmy grow up, reporting on milestones and developments in her treatment over the years.

Emmy's illness - pulmonary atresia - is where the pulmonary valve opening on the right side of the heart that regulates blood flow has not formed properly.

Robi said when Emmy was born, the doctors didn't think she would make it.

"Then they did two heart surgeries and said she would live until she was two (years-old)," she said.

 

Peter Clark, Ravi Setu, Robi Clark (front Emmy) celebrate Emmy's 12th birthday with friends and family.
Peter Clark, Ravi Setu, Robi Clark (front Emmy) celebrate Emmy's 12th birthday with friends and family. Tamara McKenzie

After Emmy had her last heart surgery at 17, she was given six-months to live.

"It's such an amazing thing. I'm still here," Emmy said.

"They can't give her any more open heart operations," Robi said.

"She's now developed pulmonary hypertension. It narrows the vessels that go from the heart to her lungs. They keep narrowing until her heart fails.

"Emmy can't have a heart-lung transplant because she's not suitable."

All of this means the young woman who should be running around with friends at night clubs, or shopping, struggles to walk far without being short of breath.

 

Emmywith her cat Snookles in 2007.
Emmywith her cat Snookles in 2007. Tamara McKenzie

"It's a very up and down thing," Emmy said.

She said one week she can be fine and have energy to do things, which she does try to make the most of, but then the next week she could be too sick to do anything.

When Emmy moves to Brisbane, she will have a carer visit her twice a week and a cleaner.

"It's going to be fun," she said.

"It's going to be challenging as well."

The only problem Emmy faces with the move is being able to afford it.

She spent the last of her money getting her jaw fixed, which had been dislocated for tubes for all the surgeries and medical procedures she's been through in her life.

Emmy survives on a disability pension as her medical condition means she can not hold a job, however, she hopes to try to do some volunteer work when she moves to Brisbane.

Emmy has started a Go Fund Me page and hopes that the Rockhampton community has a big enough heart to help her keep her own heart pumping longer with the relocation.

She hopes to raise $10,000 to buy furniture, white goods and other household items she needs in a flat of her own.

To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/Emmys-Big-Move



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