Samantha Armstrong (2015 charity ambassador)
BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Vancouver, BC: Aged 17
On the day she was born, Samantha Armstrong suffered unexpected respiratory distress. Throughout the day doctors found she had a rare congenital heart defect called Ebstein’s Anomaly, where her right ventricle does not not pump efficiently to her lungs. Sam was initially scheduled to have surgery shortly after her diagnosis.
Six days later, however, the family was told that Samantha’s heart had stabilized and she didn’t need surgery right away. Parents Deborah and Richard were finally able to take their first child her home.
After nine years, and countless check-ups at BC Children’s Hospital, Samantha was starting to slow down. In May 2008, Samantha had open-heart surgery on the defect she had been living with for so long.
Sam’s experience took a more unexpected turn two years after the procedure, when she developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Counsellors gave her techniques to deal with her distress, and she eventually overcame it. Sam now looks back positively on her experience.
Samantha’s life progress from sick baby to thoughtful, active teenager makes her a great choice to be this year’s CP Has Heart Champion. Now 17, Samantha will continue to be followed by BC Children’s Hospital until she is 18. She’s already prepared for her transition into adult care, and her mom is confident Sam is ready to take it on.