Heroes With Heart Ready To Race

Lilly Nightingale has a team of heroes watching over her.

The seven-month-old Airlie Beach baby with the big smile and curious eyes was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect when mother Alexandra McKinney was just 20 weeks pregnant.

Doctors and specialists monitored mother and daughter, safely delivering Lilly at hospital in February and declaring her ready to go home after only six days.

Clearing the first big hurdle, Ms McKinney and partner Jacob Nightingale knew their daughter had a fight ahead of her.

They returned to Brisbane where Lilly successfully underwent life-saving open-heart surgery at the Queensland Children’s Hospital in August.

Offering support during this emotional time was Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), welcoming the young family into its South Brisbane home while Lilly recovered from her major surgery.

“RMHC has been nothing short of amazing throughout the most stressful and uncertain time of our life,” Ms McKinney said of the month-long stay.

Members of the RMHC SEQ House Heroes team will don capes and masks on Sunday 15 October for The Sunday Mail Transurban Bridge to Brisbane, partnering with Team Transurban to raise funds for the families of seriously ill children, like the Nightingales.

Team Transurban has already raised more than $2 million over the past 10 years for RMHC SEQ with Team Transurban runner Ruth Moody revealing they hope to raise a further $300,000 this year.

“Tackling the Gateway Bridge incline is a challenge but it’s nothing compared to what Lilly and the Nightingales have been facing with her lifesaving surgery and a long recovery,” Ms Moody said.

“Being able to stay close by when your child is seriously ill in hospital helps to relieve some of the burden for families struggling through one of the most difficult times of their life.”

RMHC SEQ chief executive officer Emma Thompson said Transurban’s support helped provide emergency accommodation within the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for families like the Nightingales.

“It is because of the help of our amazing partners such as Transurban, we’re able to provide these vital services to families when they really need it most,” Ms Thompson said.

Register or donate at bridgetobrisbane.com.au