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Super Nova the Christmas star places first ornament on the hospital tree

Published:  07 December 2020

Celebrating Christmas together is not something the Lawrence family will ever take for granted, with three-and-a-half-year-old Nova overcoming all odds to place a Brighter Lives ornament on the Townsville University Hospital Christmas tree this year.

Nova’s Mum, Evie, said the Townsville kindergartener had been a miracle from before she was even born.

“We found out something was wrong at 16 weeks, but the doctors weren’t sure what the problem was,” Evie said.

“At every scan we would hold our breath, hoping that everything was OK.”
On 20 March, 2017, much to the relief of both doctors and her parents, little Nova came out pink and crying.

“We had a NICU team on standby just in case, but Nova surprised everyone and did so much better than everyone expected,” Evie said.

“Nova was born with no thumbs and a port-wine birth mark on her face, and her heart developed on the wrong side of her chest, but most concerningly, Nova was born in heart failure with four holes in her heart, so at just 10 weeks old she had her first heart surgery.”

Since her first heart surgery, Nova has spent most of her little life in and out of hospitals in both Townsville and Brisbane.

“Novie had her big main heart surgery at 18 months down in Brisbane; it was the most awful long day just waiting and worrying; it took nine hours and she spent four hours on bypass” Evie said.

“She also has an undiagnosed condition that causes her to bleed internally. Sadly, due to this Nova has been airlifted to Brisbane several times in a life-threatening condition.

“Despite numerous tests and investigative surgeries we still have no idea what causes it. All we can do is monitor the problem in the hopes that we catch it before she has a bleed or before it becomes life threatening.”

Despite everything, Evie said Nova is a typical happy and cheeky three-year-old girl.

“Nova loves dancing, she loves puppies and she just loves life; her happiness shines through everything she does,” Evie said.

“She is more amazing and stronger than any of us. Even in the worst moments she is there with a smile on her face, waving at the doctors and nurses.

“She really is my little Super Nova and I am so proud of her and to be her mum.”

Brighter Lives chief executive officer Tanya Busoli said the annual Townsville University Hospital fundraiser was all about embracing the season of giving.

“Christmas is the time of year to be grateful for what we have, and to give back to those in need,” Tanya said.

“Brighter Lives is committed to making a difference to our patients while they are in hospital.

“We want to make sure that when little miracles like Nova unfortunately have a stay in hospital that not only do they have access to world-class care, but they also have toys to play with, playgrounds to play on and books to read.”

Townsville Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Tony Mooney said the work Brighter Lives does at the hospital couldn’t be understated.

“Brighter Lives helps patients from across the entire spectrum of health care,” he said.

“They provide equipment to assist our clinicians to provide exceptional care, funding for research projects and furniture such as chairs in our oncology ward to ensure our patients are comfortable.

“And of course, there are the smiling faces of our volunteers who greet our visitors, make a cup of tea and provide a comforting ear when needed.

“We are very proud of our partnership with Brighter Lives and are delighted to have Nova here to place an ornament on our Christmas tree.”

Brighter Lives Christmas ornaments are $2 each and are on sale until 23 December.

Ornaments can be purchased from the information stand in the main foyer of the hospital.

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