Humans of the Mater

Chris’s Story:

Chris Gifford - Mater Hospital Patient Story

Having been born with a rare congenital heart condition, effective treatment and a determined attitude have allowed Chris live a full life to date. Now with additional heart surgery scheduled for early 2023, he is joining the Mater Foundation’s 100 Miles in a Month in Feb 2023, as a way of giving something back.

Here’s his story:

“I was born in 1979 with Tetralogy of Fallot. That’s quite a technical name for a rare congenital heart condition caused by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth – a hole in the heart, a thicker right ventricle, a misplaced aorta and a leaky pulmonary valve. It meant, as a youngster, that I had to deal with oxygen-poor blood flow out of my heart and to the rest of my body, which can lead to shortness of breath or rapid breathing, tiring easily while playing and a bluish colouring  of the skin.

When I was just 17 months old, surgeons corrected the VSD (hole in my heart) using a teflon patch. And, you know, I would say, nothing major has happened since 😊. Mercifully, I have led a ‘normal’ life – got up to the usual silly things teenagers get up to, enjoyed family life, travel and have made a career buying and selling wine.

In 2011, it was noted that at some stage in the future I’d require a new pulmonary valve, which would be inserted via a catheterization, but it wasn’t an immediate requirement.  Once again I carried on with life as normal though I started attending a clinic at the Mater. I have to say that the consistent care, support and encouragement that the cardiac outpatient team provide has been incredible – from the technicians to the Specialist Cardiac Nurses to Professor Walsh and everyone in between – they can never do enough.

Not long before Christmas, I received my call to say that it was time to tackle my pulmonary valve issue, and that I will be scheduled for the new valve procedure in the early months of this year. Then over the Christmas break, I spotted the Mater Foundation’s 100 Miles in a Month fundraising challenge on Facebook and realised that it could be a chance to give back in a constructive and public manner to the team who have supported me, and who will hopefully save my life.

I’m looking forward to being part of the 100 Miles challenge community and, while I’m sure I’ll have my tough days, I’m determined to succeed. I’ll take the same approach to my valve replacement. I can’t wait to get back to my ‘normal’ life.”

Chris, Co Dublin

You can find out more about out 100 Miles in a Month challenge and how to sign up here:

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