Katie, 21 from the Rhondda Valleys shares her story of living with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

I’m Katie, I’m a 21 year old young woman and I have a heart defect called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) before birth so I’ve lived with the condition all my life. HCM causes the heart muscle to become abnormally thick which makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively. Throughout my childhood I was faced with many challenges from countless hospital admissions to missing about 4 years of schooling if you add it up. Having hospital appointments and admissions soon became normal to me. I was treated and looked after by a consultant in University of Wales Hospital. I was a resilient child and not fazed about the amount of time I spent at hospital. I even found my hospital appointments fun to be at.  I remember the old children’s outpatients, the waiting room filled with toys and the children’s drawings on the wall and the giant Connect 4 in the corner. I once took my younger cousin along with me to my appointment. It was my older sister’s 11th birthday so me and my cousin ran off the Little Tikes playhouse and made a stickle brick birthday cake and used the rectangle shaped bricks to make the number 11.   We carried our ‘masterpiece’ back out into the waiting room and sang Happy Birthday with loud voices.

As of now my heart is stable and is controlled by medication.  As a young adult my life is filled with new and exciting things each day. I absolutely love presenting speeches with medical professionals or students and I’ll take any opportunity that comes my way to share my story with the world. Living with a heart condition still has its challenges but I wouldn’t have my life any other way. I’ve had beautiful opportunities and met magnificent people I wouldn’t otherwise have met. I am deeply in love with the life I lead and I am thankful each and every day. My heart is full of endless gratitude.

I have Cardiomyopathy, but Cardiomyopathy doesn’t have me. I am more than my condition.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, I am forever grateful.