Originally published in the Herald Sun, April 3, 2020
Story by Alanah Frost
Images by Alex Coppel and Jay Town
Audrey Laurent’s parents are convinced doctors at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) sowed flecks of gold onto her heart all those years ago.
In 2011, at just four-months-old, Audrey needed surgery to mend tiny holes in her tiny heart.
Like any parents, Jacquelyn Laurent Goeman and husband Ross Goeman just wanted to see their child healthy at the other end.
“It was really terrifying because she was so young,” Laurent Goeman says.
“It’s scary when you’re faced with your child, your baby, being unwell.
“I feel so lucky (now) because obviously other children are in a much worse situation.
“But when your baby is having surgery it’s massive.”
The family soon learnt Audrey could not have been in safer hands.
During the operation, surgeons stitched up two of the three holes in Audrey’s heart, leaving the third to heal on its own so the youngster would not have to wear a pacemaker.
“And she recovered in three days. She was home in three days and back feeding. And I put that down to the great care that she had.”
Now 9, Audrey has a “heart of gold”.
“I say often they sowed on some specks of gold,” Laurent Goeman says.
“Audrey’s a fantastic little ballerina and sometimes her classmates ask about her scar — and she proudly tells them.
“It hasn’t held her back in any way — she’s just wonderful and can do anything any other child can do.”