Battler is mum s little miracle
Tracey Horsley and 17-month-old son Xavier. Picture: Dione Davidson / The West Australian.

A faint zipper scar running down his upper chest is the only hint that Xavier Horsley's young life once hung in the balance.

Born four weeks premature and with a complex heart disorder, the now 17-month-old toddler has survived a series of operations and medical procedures that would put the most robust men to the test.

Within hours of his birth he had an emergency operation at Princess Margaret Hospital to create a hole between the two collecting chambers of his heart and, once stabilised, was on a flight to Melbourne for lifesaving open-heart surgery.

Xavier was born with a rare cardiac defect known as transposition of the arteries and without corrective surgery none of his organs would have been able to get oxygen.

The cause of the condition is unknown and with Xavier it was not diagnosed until after his birth. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth abnormality in Australia and each week claims the lives of four babies.

Mum Tracey Horsley describes Xavier as her "miracle baby" and says she is thankful for every day she has with him.

Mrs Horsley said the charity Heartkids WA had helped her family through an extremely difficult and bewildering time.

"Watching our baby struggle for life brought inconceivable highs and lows and was an extremely difficult time for us all," she said.

Heartkids WA was one of the first to express interest in The Orange Seed Project, a special competition for the not-for-profit sector being run through The West Australian in partnership with advertising agency Jack in the Box.

The competition aims to help charities such as Heartkids WA to get a higher public profile and raise funds.

The West Australian

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