Little Teliah is an inspiration

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
14-month-old Teliah Beek loves teddies and soft toys.
Camera Icon14-month-old Teliah Beek loves teddies and soft toys.

Nearly two years ago, expectant parents Kirsten and Andrew Beek were given devastating news that no couple wants to hear.

Their little girl, Teliah, had been diagnosed with a rare case of congenital heart disease. The Bertram family learnt about her heart condition during Mrs Beek’s 20-week pregnancy scan.

Born on October 18, 2019, Teliah was urgently transferred to Perth Children’s Hospital within the first four hours of her life.

“I was lucky to have a cuddle with her before she was whisked away,” Mrs Beek said.

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The brave little girl had her first open heart surgery at just 10 days old.

During the operation surgeons connected the tiny patient’s pulmonary arteries and put in a BT shunt — used to create a pathway for blood to go from the arterial circulation to the lungs — but little Teliah had lost too much blood. She went into cardiac arrest because of a clot in the shunt.

“That was scary. . . she was gone for about 10-15 minutes,” she said.

Thankfully Teliah survived. She was ventilated for five days after the surgery, spending two of those days on life support and three weeks on continuous airway pressure therapy to recover.

Kirsten Beek's first hug with their daughter Teliah, nine days after her surgery.
Camera IconKirsten Beek's first hug with their daughter Teliah, nine days after her surgery. Credit: Supplied

Her parents have had to watch helplessly while their daughter was in pain, and endure nights where they were not sure if she was going to be there the next day.

“She was in hospital for seven weeks before she could come home,” she said.

“She’s full of joy and always makes me laugh. There’s been so many miracles and little things to celebrate a long the way.”

Teliah recently had her second surgery, but still requires two more open heart surgeries to complete the Fontan procedure.

“She’s hit all her development and cognitive milestones along the way which is a miracle in itself,” Mrs Beek said.

Now 16 months old, Teliah is making great progress. Her eating tube was removed four weeks ago and she can now eat and drink.

Teliah Beek.
Camera IconTeliah Beek.

This month the Beek family are hoping to raise awareness and funds for national health charity HeartKids by encouraging individuals to buy a special $5 heart beads bracelet in support for families affected by CHD.

The bracelets symbolise the beads that many of the heart kids receive during hospital stays, with each distinctive bead standing for a specific challenge, procedure, or treatment that children with CHD have endured.

Similarly Shoalwater’s Andrea Tasi is also asking residents to get behind HeartKids after her son Braxton died in September 2018.

Braxton had his first operation at two days old.

He underwent a major open heart operation at five days old and then had his third operation 13 years later in August 2018.

At his fourth operation when Braxton was 13, and just a month after his third operation, he went into cardiac arrest for 72 minutes and was placed on life support.

He fought through nine more operations including amputation of his right leg before passing in September 2018.

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