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Run to hospital

Torika Tokalau
Friday, June 06, 2014

RUN to the nearest health centre, don't walk.

This is the advice 16-year-old Ophelia Salato is giving to parents and guardians when their child complains of a sore throat.

Ophelia was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease when she was 12 years old. She went to the hospital when she was coughing and had shortness of breath.

"When they told me I had RHD I was blank. I didn't know what to feel. I was frightened obviously because before this, I had no idea what RHD was. And I knew it was something really serious when they came to tell me."

A year later, because her condition became serious, she had to undergo surgery. While her condition changed her life dramatically, Ophelia, now a Year 11 student at Suva Grammar School, tries to live a normal life.

"I can't take part in sports and I always have to remember to take my medication and come for my clinics. Other than that, I want to live a normal life, like any other 16-year-old."

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