She’s already proven how tough she is, recovering from heart surgery as a nine-year-old but next week local Aussie rules player Faith Reeves will demonstrate courage of a different kind.
The Helensvale State High School AFL Academy student and Pacific Pines Junior Australian Football Club under 13 player will shave off all of her hair as part of the World’s Greatest Shave.
“When I was a younger, I had childhood heart disease and the doctors helped me, now that I had my operation I feel I can do anything,” says eleven-year-old Faith.
Faith will donate all money raised to the Leukaemia Foundation. And it’s set to be a significant donation, with the original goal of $500 smashed within the first hour.
Life changed for Faith and her family five years ago when she developed a childhood heart condition, called Supraventricular Tachycardia which saw her having unexplained heart palpitations.
Faith’s mum Sarah said it was a shock to the family.
“In the beginning we had no idea what was happening,” she said.
“When these episodes happened, we had to get an ambulance to the hospital where they would restart her heart to get the rhythm back.”
After two years on a waitlist, Faith had a six-hour heart surgery at Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane to rewire the electrical current in her heart.
“Doctors have told us there is a possibility the condition could come back at any time; however, three years on and she is doing great,” said Sarah.
Once recovered from her surgery, Faith made the switch from rugby league to Aussie rules and joined the Pac Power U11’s team.
“She absolutely loves being involved in the club and playing alongside her friends,” said Sarah.
“Coming from rugby we have enjoyed seeing how inclusive AFL is for girls and their development.”
Her brave battle and love for footy hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Gold Coast SUNS taking a keen interesting in showing their support for the little warrior.
AFLW player Dee Heslop took it upon herself to make a surprise FaceTime call to Faith at her Thursday afternoon training session.
She took the opportunity to show support and encourage Faith and her friends to continue their amazing work off the field and enjoying their footy on the field. A small part in trying to inspire the next generation of female footballers on the Coast.
And if that wasn’t enough, yesterday she literally rubbed shoulders with the SUNS Captain Jarrod Witts at Metricon as they gear up for round 1 of the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership season.
“For us as players, we want to mean more to the community than just being football players, we love giving back and trying to help show our support even in the smallest of ways,” said Gold Coast SUNS captain Jarrod Witts.
“Faith is a little legend and we hope she continues to kick goals on and off the field. Everyone at the SUNS is right behind her.”
On Monday, March 15th she’ll shave her head in front of her whole school, with her family and friends there to watch.
“During Faith’s disease we have received fundraising and support from the Heart Kids’ Foundation, and we will always be grateful to charities like the Leukaemia Foundation,” said Sarah.
If you would like to make a donation toward Faith’s shave, visit: https://secure.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?Referrer=%26Referrer%3ddirect%252fnone&RegistrationID=808649