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Five-year-old Charlee Rogers is all smiles following a recent stint at Auckland’s Starship Hospital.

The Timaru youngster marked the end of 2017 with a trip to Starship after a routine paediatric appointment in October found her breathing and overall colour required attention.

Charlee, who was born with multiple life-threatening heart problems, had a 10-hour operation called a Fontan procedure in March last year.

Her heart problems comprise an atrioventricular septal defect, unbalanced atrioventricular canal, a double-outlet right ventricle, hypoplastic left ventricle and tetralogy of Fallot.

The Courier launched a fundraising campaign in 2015 to help the family raise the money needed for Charlee’s medical care.

Her mother, Cherie Holman, said Charlee was “doing all right” following her latest visit to Auckland, the week of Christmas.

It followed an earlier appointment, which found her colour and breathing were not great, Miss Holman said.

“We knew she was going downhill, but didn’t think she was getting that bad.”

Charlee was required at Starship on December 16.

The following Tuesday she had a cardiac catheterisation – a catheter which is threaded through the blood vessels to the heart.

Her specialist also closed a fenestration, an opening which was created during an earlier procedure to act as a pressure release valve.

“That went all OK, but now they’ve found she has a really slow heart rate,” Miss Holman said.

“So we are waiting now on the team in Auckland to get back to us for some more tests .. so they can try to work out why her heart rate is so slow.”

Miss Holman said it could result in Charlee getting a pacemaker.

Despite her challenges, Charlee, who started at Grantlea Downs School last term, was showing no signs of slowing down while running about with her sister McKenzee (3) on Monday.

Charlee has, so far, had five operations and several cardiac catheterisations and tests.

“We still know of at least one open-heart surgery that they want to do .. but they are just waiting for her body to tell them when it’s time to do it.”