Teen shows kind heart

HELPING HAND: Unakho Ntshintshi, standing in front in red t-shirt, who was born with a congenital heart defect donates a
wheelchair to Liyolisa Makhohliso, seated, who has a heart defect and multiple organon hydatid cysts Picture: SUPPLIED

15-year-old born with heart defect donates wheelchair to girl

After undergoing five heart operations by the time she was 11, four of which were open-heart surgeries, Unakho Ntshintshi, 15, is dedicating her time to creating awareness and helping others with the same condition. Ntshintshi is helping raise awareness on the importance of dental care for children like her with complex congenital heart defects (CHD/CCHD) through the BRUSH TO LIVE #CHDISREAL initiative, supported by the TEAMLEE28 Foundation.

Ntshintshi was born with CCHD, which includes defective vessels, such as her double outlet right ventricle where her aorta connects to the right ventricle instead of the left. She also has a hole in her ventricular septum (wall). In addition to raising awareness about her condition, Ntshintshi also recently donated a wheelchair to Mdantsane resident Liyolisa Makhohliso,who has both CCHD, as well as multiple organ hydatid cysts.

“During our cardiac clinic at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in December last year, one of our
‘CHD warriors’ asked my mom if she can get her a new wheelchair. “My mom called me and told me the news.

“I looked at her beautiful smile and eyes that are full of hope, so as a big sister I felt the
need to help although I didn’t know how,” Ntshintshi said. Along with her mother, Noxolo Ntshintshi, a nurse at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital’s neo-natal ICU ward, Ntshintshi hosts awareness talks at Cecilia Makiwane and Frere Hospital, where they hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste to children with CHD.

Speaking to The GO!, Ntshintshi said few people knew about CHD and the struggles children with CHD went through. She said their parents also often did not have a support
system, making it very difficult.

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