The sweet onesie that helps kids with heart problems

Bruce baby Charlie Clode with the onesie designed for him by the Flossie clothing line owned by Kambah mum Fiona Lester.
Bruce baby Charlie Clode with the onesie designed for him by the Flossie clothing line owned by Kambah mum Fiona Lester. Photo: Supplied

There are some very clever - and generous - people around. And Canberra mum Fiona Lester is one of them.

She has a children's clothing line called Flossie which throughout March is raising money for HeartKids NSW/ACT which supports the families of children with heart disease while also raising awareness and funding.

Fiona designed a special onesie for Canberra baby Charlie Clode who was born with a congenital heart condition and who featured on the front page of The Canberra Times last month.

She collaborated with Charlie's auntie, Felicity Miller, of Weston, to come up with the onesie which features the ever-so-true words on the front: "Little Brave Heart".

Fiona is donating $5 from the sale of every "Charlie Onesie" to HeartKids NSW/ACT, something she initially promoted for Valentine's Day but which she has extended throughout March. Details on how to order a onesie are here:

Fiona is no stranger to kids – she's a mum to nine of them. And she's also, like many Australians, all too familiar with heart disease.

Her husband James has suffered a number of heart attacks in the last 18 months and is keenly aware of the need for more research into chronic heart disease.

And we can happily report little Charlie, now four months old, is doing well.

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His mum Melissa told us he had to return to hospital for a minor procedure next month but the main source of worry, the growth of his pulmonary arteries, had eased a little with some good growth occurring.

"He's gaining weight and smiling and giggling," she said.

But Charlie will have to live with heart disease and the accompanying need for operations and other treatments for the rest of his life.

Needless to say, Melissa is critically aware of the need for a cure for heart disease. She also says the support of HeartKids NSW/ACT for families was amazing.

And that support goes right down to the very practical. When Melissa was flown with Charlie to the Children's Hospital Westmead in Sydney for him to have emergency open-heart surgery, it was HeartKids which was there with toothpaste and shampoo for her – little necessities she had no time to think of when her son was in such a dire condition.

HeartKids also provided family support co-ordinators in the hospital which helped Melissa and her husband Daniel to "debrief" and feel connected to others who understood what they were going through.

"They really do tailor their care to the family," Melissa said.

HeartKids says eight babies are born every day in Australia with heart disease.

Find more details on HeartKids at http://heartkidsnsw.org.au.