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Samantha's Story

By Samantha Goddard

I was born relatively easily, despite my Mother's painful 23 hours in labour!

It was only when I was 14 months old and my mother decided that it was certainly NOT normal for a little girl to look blue all the time, that a doctor confirmed that I had a dodgy ticker. I actually had a hole covering all four chambers of the heart and a faulty valve. After heart failure, fainting etc. I had surgery aged 4 at Hammersmith hospital. Fantastic, although I was soooo disappointed about being released before Christmas and missing the party, that I went back for a few days!!!

Life then carried on as normal and I had a little sister aged 2. Who was perfectly normal, although very naughty. Unfortunately with a million to one probability, or something like that, my aorta started to close aged 10! I had surgery again at Great Ormond Street. They did only 10 operations of that nature that year, I was the only survivor. AT LAST probability was on my side.

Would you believe that I have 10 GCSEs and 3 A-levels and am working towards a degree? I also work full-time for M&S and have a driving licence. In addition, I have found a man mad enough to take me on and we are due to be married next September.

I am 21 years old, with two scars and my head in a bit of a mess, but am reasonably healthily and leading a normal life. Sometimes I want to shout out to people that I am special, but as a rule don't tell anybody. I think it is time for me to talk to people and I am over-the-moon to discover the GUCH PA (former name of The Somerville Foundation). I thought I was the only member of the dodgy tickers club!

There is always hope and I strongly believe that survival is mainly due to attitude, of which I have more than my fair share. My advice is don't think too much, just do what you can and enjoy it.

I'd welcome anyone else's advice to see me through the time ahead.

Thanks for listening to me.

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