Interview by the Heart-Lung Foundation 13th October 2022
Today we meet André, who creates art to support research and honor his two sisters with heart defects.
"I was 9 years old and was going to be the big brother of my very first sibling. Proud as a rooster, I told all my classmates, it was big for me.
My sister Isabelle was born. She was so beautiful and absolutely wonderful. When she was only 4 weeks old, the doctors declared that she had a congenital heart defect, Aortic stenosis*.
For my little sister, an intervention was inevitable and surgery followed already the following week. When my parents dropped her off for surgery there was a lot of worry with many questions like 'Will our daughter come back alive? How will her life be affected?' I remember being worried and scared.
It went well and she got the chance to live a normal life, which in itself is a miracle in my opinion. Isabelle still has heart disease and will have to have her aortic valve replaced with an artificial valve. I am extremely grateful for the knowledge and skill that existed back then in the early 2000s.
6 years later my other sister, Alice, was born with the same heart defect but thankfully not as severe. For many years I have been determined to pay attention to my sisters' story in some way and support the Heart and Lung Foundation for a chance for a better and longer life for all heart patients.
Being an artist, I use my craft to raise money for vital research. Feel free to participate and help others have the chance to live the way Isabel and Alice were able to."
* In aortic stenosis, the blood has difficulty passing out of the left ventricle and on to the body's artery, which can lead to a lack of oxygen in organs and tissues.
The photo is private from the family album and shows André and Isabelle as children.