GISBORNE resident Emma Dwyer has spent nearly a decade raising awareness on children’s heart conditions.

In 2010, her daughter Hannah was born with a complex heart condition and was told that she wouldn’t make it to her first birthday.

Hannah will soon be turning nine, and has lived through four open heart surgeries, 10 cardiac catheters and hundreds of tests at the hospital.

Over the Labour Day weekend, Hannah experienced a stroke that lasted 48 hours – Ms Dwyer counts her blessings that her daughter recovered.

The duo often celebrate HeartKids – an organisation and voice for all people impacted by congenital heart disease – and this year they will be hosting a ‘Teddy Bear Picnic Day’ at Jacksons Creek Reserve in Gisborne on Saturday, April 13.

“Eight children a day are born with heart disease, sadly heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in children under 12 months old,” Ms Dywer said.

“I really want to give something back and help empower, support and educate the community on heart disease.”

The picnic will be from 10am to 4pm and will include teddy bear activities, rides, market stalls, food vans and storytelling time.

All proceeds on the day will be going to HeartKids Australia. For more information visit