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by Rachael Comer

Charlee Rogers is recovering after a life-changing operation.
The Timaru 4-year-old had major heart surgery in Auckland on Friday, and was transferred to her own room on the ward on Tuesday. Speaking from Auckland, just before The Courier went to print, Charlee’s mother, Cherie Holman, said her daughter was “doing well”.
Charlee underwent a Fontan procedure – the palliative surgical operation which is used on children with complex congenital heart defects.
“Everything has gone really, really well,” Miss Holman said.
“She is recovering well and has just been taken into her own room on the ward.
“Unfortunately, they couldn’t do everything so will have to have another open heart surgery to fix her valve.
“It was too dangerous to do both at once.”
It was not certain when that operation would occur, she said.
Charlee went into the operating theatre at 12.50pm on Friday. Her operation had been scheduled for the day before, but a newborn baby required emergency surgery on the Thursday.
“We got to see her again at 8.30 that night.”
The waiting time while her daughter had been operated on was a long one, Miss Holman said.
“It was an anxious time and it was hard to relax and just keep waiting,” she said.
The next few days would be spent trying to get Charlee up and about so her fluids drain properly.
“It all depends on how her body heals and not getting any infections.”
She said her daughter had handled the situation with her usual good nature.
“She hasn’t grizzled or cried.
“She has just taken everything as if she knows she has to have it done.”
Miss Holman said the family were grateful for all the support they had received.
“We can’t thank Heart Kids South Canterbury and Ronald McDonald House enough.”
In 2015, The Courier‘s community fundraising campaign gathered $30,000 for them. The family is staying at Starship Hospital.
Charlee’s heart problems comprise an atrioventricular septal defect, unbalanced atrioventricular canal, a double-outlet right ventricle, hypoplastic left ventricle and tetralogy of fallot.