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A Maboneng Foundation Warrior's Story

Little Kiana Davids was born on 30 September 2018 to her first time parents Kaylam and Kallen. At six months old, in April 2019, she was taken to the local hospital for a fever she just couldn’t shake. It was a Sister at there that discovered her heart murmur while checking her, and so the Davids family scheduled an appointment with the cardiologist present, who diagnosed Kiana with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) - holes between the walls of both the upper and lower chambers of the heart. Kiana’s heart was also found to be enlarged. “He explained to us that she would need to undergo open heart surgery, and that they would need to cut her open twice,” says Kaylam, who shares that the news came as a shock and the way forward seemed unclear, “we weren’t happy about her having to be cut in two different places - on her side and then again on her chest, so we sought out a second opinion.”

Kaylam’s sister had sadly lost her son to a congenital heart defect sometime before the shock of Kiana’s CHD news, and it was through his sister’s experience that they arranged to meet with paediatric cardiologist, Dr Danksy at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital. “We were obviously very stressed as parents,” shares Kaylam, who was relieved to learn, from Dr Danksy, that Kiana’s open heart surgery could be done with a single incision through the chest. It was Dr Danksy who told the Davids family about The Maboneng Foundation after discovering that they had no medical aid and would need financial assistance to give Kiana the quality of life she deserved. “He gave us Liesl’s [Maboneng Heart and Lung Institute] number, which was the first time we connected with her,” says Kaylam who together with his wife, Kallen, express their immense gratitude for her, “she explained to us that funds would need to be raised before Kiana could have her operation. We spoke to her on a Monday and by that Friday, enough funds had been raised.” The Davids’ family and community contributed significantly to the raising of the funds and the following Monday, one week after speaking with Liesl, the family of three returned to Netcare Sunninghill Hospital and were admitted to the Paediatric Ward where they were met by Dr Dansky and spent the night. The following morning, Kiana was taken in for her open heart surgery, led by Dr Erich Schürmann. “It was the worst stress of our lives that waiting period,” says Kaylam, “but [anaethetist] Dr Naidoo kept us posted throughout the surgery.” After around two hours, the Davids received a text letting them know that the surgery had gone well and that the team were busy stitching up their little girl’s chest. Kiana spent three days recovering in CTICU. “Dr Danksy was stunned at how she recovered so soon”. Both Kaylam and Kallen were able to take off work once Kiana was ready to come home. “The recovery at home was stressful,” says Kaylam, “none of us are medical personnel so we didn’t really know what we were doing. Kiana’s grandparents really helped us a lot and we really are so thankful for them”. Two months post op, Kiana was “back to normal” and her scar healed up “nice and neatly”. “We no longer say she has a condition, because it is healed now, but she is still so spoiled because of it,” shares Kaylam, who says that at this stage, Kiana hasn’t started school due to nerves around her heart defect. “We know we should take that step but we are just nervous. Any sickness can be more aggressive because of her heart. “Healthwise, at this stage, she is 100%... we don’t see any issues there, and Dr Danksy confirmed at our check up that her holes are no longer there and she will eventually grow into her enlarged heart. He was very happy with how she is doing”. Kiana will continue to see Dr Danksy once every year for a check up. “We want to thank everyone who helped us and Kiana. Especially to Liesl who just made us feel so at ease and relaxed, as well as Dr Naidoo who did the same. To Dr Dansky, who we still see annually and of course to her surgeon, Dr Schürmann for performing the miracle. It has been a tough time since we found out and we are so grateful.”

Pictures supplied by Kaylam Davids and shared with permission.


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