Aarna the heart hero

602.That’s how many days two-year-old Aarna spent in Koala, The Royal Children’s Hospital’s cardiac ward.

That means, the toddler has spent most of her life in hospital, until now.


In May 2022, at around eight-weeks-old, Aarna fell ill and was rushed to her local emergency department in Sydney. She had cardiomyopathy.  

“In simple words, her left side of her heart was not working properly,” Aarna’s parents, Neha and Gourav explained. 

At six months, Aarna was transferred to the RCH, where she underwent heart surgery, but unfortunately it didn’t help and eventually Aarna’s family were told she would need a new heart. 

“She was the queen of Koala ward and knows all the nurses by name in Koala,” Neha said.  

 The strong and determined two-year-old certainly made a name for herself.  

“She knows exactly what she wants and she is very loud and clear!” her parents said. 

Throughout her time in Koala, Aarna and her family marked many milestones, forging close bonds with the staff who looked after them. 

“We are very grateful for exceptional support medically and emotionally throughout our journey,” her parents recalled. 

“They celebrated our Hindu festivals with us like Diwali and Holi and we never felt that we are not celebrating it with our friends and family.  

“They ensured we didn’t feel homesick, especially during those times. 

“The RCH has a great team of doctors, nurses and allied staff. It is only because of them it would have been possible to survive such a long time in the hospital.” 

After undergoing a heart transplant and lengthy recovery Aarna’s family were told, she was ready to leave the RCH. 

“We were very happy as we waited very long for this day and at the same time very emotional as we were very close to all the nurses and carers,” her parents said.

“Koala is like our family. We had so many celebrations together and also faced so many challenges together.  

“We all got so emotional when we saw so many people come to say goodbye.” 

On the day of her discharge, the ward was packed with staff and friends, as Aarna was wheeled out of Koala for the last time.  

“It felt like the entire hospital was there to say goodbye to her,” Neha and Gourav said. 

“Almost everyone including us was crying as everyone including doctors, all the Koala Nurses, VAD team, Aarna’s care team, support staff were waiting for that day. 

“We are grateful to RCH for taking such good care of Aarna and especially that day is engraved in our hearts forever and we will never forget that.”

With thanks to Aarna’s family for sharing their story.  

One comment for “Aarna the heart hero”

  1. Lyn Forster

    Wow – This is such wonderful news to see and has bought tears to see that Aarna is now able to leave Koala Ward after so long. I am Teddy’s Aunty Lyn Forster and I would see her and her family on my frequent visits during 2022-2024 to Koala ward as she would always chat to little Teddy, Alex and Sinead on her walks/run along the corridors with her VLAD. Please pass on my best wishes to all her family – it’s such beautiful news. Love to you all. Lyn Forster ❤️ ♥️


Add a comment

Previous post