Wilson Park Primary School student Dylan Sundo was awarded the Lions Children of Courage Award 2018 for facing life’s challenges with exceptional courage.
The eleven year old has kept a positive outlook on life despite his medical issues.
Dylan was one of the 100 Australian babies born with a heart disease every year, according to the Heart Centre for Children.
He was presented with the award at the school assembly last week by the Collie Lions Club and said it was a proud moment.
“I feel very proud to have won this award, for facing life’s challenges with exceptional courage,” he said.
Dylan’s mother, Tammy, said she was exceptionally proud of her son and how far he had come.
“I am proud of him, he has come so far. He just enjoys life, you know if the person who picks on him falls over he is there to be giving them a helping hand and will just accept them for who they are,” she said.
From the day Dylan was born his mother knew there was something wrong when he wouldn’t feed.
He was later diagnosed with a complex heart disease and was told by doctors that he would be lucky to live past two years old.
“The doctor told me that he would have been lucky to live until he was two years old because his left side of his heart wasn’t working,” Mrs Sundo said.
Heart defects in kids can be congenital, present at birth, or developed later in childhood and these may be in the interior walls of the heart, or the heart valves the arteries that carry blood to or from the heart.
Mrs Sundo said Dylan first went into surgery to have a mechanical valve put in at two and half years old when she was pregnant with her next child, Ji.
“The first time around was extremely scary and I was four months pregnant with Ji,” she said.
Just after his birthday last year Dylan went into surgery again
“The second time was pretty scary too because he had to have blood transfusions for up to six weeks, infection took ages to come down, blood pressure also took awhile to come down
“In surgery they replaced his valve and then after that he could breath, he could run and do a lot more then he used to, before he was short of breath, he would be covered in sweat and pass out for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and then pass out and wake up as if nothing happened,” Mrs Sundo said.
Today Dylan has two mechanical valves, a pacemaker and is on Warfarin, a blood thinner medication that keeps him alive.
Dylan said he loves going to school and that his favourite class is sport.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said.