It is always an exciting time when a new life comes into the world and on 3 March 2016 Kimberley Staunton, who grew up in Logan, gave birth at Canberra Hospital via caesarean section at 8am. However, all was not good as newborn Jack was rushed to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

For the next few hours, Kimberley was left wondering what was happening with Jack. Come 3pm, the doctor walks in and tells Kimberley that there is something wrong with Jack and they didn’t know what but advised her they were sending Jack to Sydney.

“I did not get to see him until 6pm that night and when I did, he was in an incubator cot with cords and wires everywhere,” said Kimberley.

Later the same night, Jack was transported by plane to Westmead Children’s Hospital with his dad and brother while Kimberley made her way the following day.


Jack spent his first six days of life in NICU connected to all kinds of machines to help keep him alive because of a heart condition that was not yet fully diagnosed.

On March 9, the cardiac surgeon looking after Jack performed aortic coarctation surgery. Coarctation of the aorta is a birth defect in which a part of the aorta is narrower than usual.

The repair was done however the procedure was complicated by little Jack having a cardiac arrest and inadequate left heart function.

The following day, March 10, Jack needed to go back under the knife and have a Norwood and Sano shunt. This operation moves blood from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery and from the pulmonary artery, the blood goes into the lungs.

Following surgery, Jack suffered multiple cardiac events (incidents that may cause damage to the heart muscle) and had extended stays in NICU and PICU.

Jack as Baby
Jack as Baby

For the next few weeks, Jack was closely monitored in hospital before he would need to undergo more surgery on April 5. This time it would be for a Chylous pericardial effusion with pericardial window.

Almost two months Jack remained in NICU and PICU with his mother constantly by his side. This was where Kimberley met volunteers from HeartKids who focus on supporting people impacted by childhood heart disease.

HeartKids would help with food vouchers, and other items including giving Christmas gifts to Jack and his brother as well as supporting Kimberley when needed.

Come May 25 and Jack is back under the knife for a Bidirectional Glenn shunt. Jack had a difficult postoperative course with low cardiac output arrest, coronary artery spasm, and myocardial ischemia.

Every day was touch and go but Jack was a fighter and would keep the doctors on their toes.

Jack as Baby
Jack as Baby

Now almost four months old, Jack was going in for surgery number five, this time it was because of an infection.

June 6 and Jack was suffering a sternal wound infection. This is a life-threatening complication after cardiac surgery. This meant Jack needed a vacuum-assisted closure of the sternal wound leaving his chest open for three days before it was closed on June 9.

Jack was in hospital for a total of seven months before being allowed to go home.

It would be over a year later, November 2017, before Jack would need to be back in hospital for surgery. This time it was to try and improve his vocal cords functions.

Due to recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy which occurred from previous open-heart surgeries, Jack had an Laryngo-broncho-esophagoscopy and filler to his larynx. He also had eye duct blockage surgery to open his blocked tear ducts, caused by CPAP.

In 2019, Jack was back for two more surgeries. April it was a Cardiac Catheterisation and insertion of a left pulmonary artery stent before returning in November for a Fenestrated Fontan.

Jack and his mum

In 2020 the family moved to Cornubia and Kimberley was happy to back in Logan where she grew up. Jack was beginning to show his natural character when he played with his two brothers. Jack has a very outgoing personality and loves playing with Lego, drawing and the Ninja Turtles.

At Jack’s check-up CT scan and bronchoscopy, he was diagnosed with chronic suppurative lung disease. It was also the time they met the HeartKids team in Queensland.

Jack has been attending Carbrook State School who have really looked after him. In June, the school participated in Hero for HeartKids where students dressed as superheros and raised money for the charity while learning about Jacks condition.

After his hero day, Jack was asked to become the Ambassador for the HeartKids walk in Brisbane on October 8. This means Jack will be leading the walk.

Jack and his family
Jack and his family

When Jack was asked if he was excited to lead the walk as the ambassador, he said, “yeah,” before talking about his Lego.

“Jack is doing very well at the moment,” said Kimberley.

“He is living his best life despite all the limitations that his heart condition and other health issues have given him.

“He may need a heart and lung transplant at some stage or maybe a pacemaker, but for now, this special heart of his is doing its job and we will continue to keep it working that way for as long as we possibly can.”

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