Zoe Schmidt was just two years old when she passed away in August 2021 after battling Heterotaxy Syndrome, a rare birth condition where the internal organs are abnormally arranged in the chest and abdomen. In the first eight months of her life, Zoe underwent three major operations (two open heart surgeries and one abdominal surgery) and many other invasive procedures.
During her short life, Zoe spent a total of 12 months in various hospitals, including Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital. Being in hospital isn’t the easiest experience for anyone but can be particularly challenging for children who are still developing and are keen to move around and explore. Zoe’s parents Kimberley and Stewart were still able to create fond memories with Zoe despite being in hospital, thanks to the caring and kind healthcare staff.
“Zoe was much-loved by all the doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who cared for her”, says Kimberley.
Those who knew Zoe described her as a toddler who had a wonderful personality: full of attitude, tenacity, spunk, sass, and a never-ending love of Bluey.
“Zoe was incredibly strong willed and had an internal strength beyond her years. She always fought hard, dug deep and made us exceedingly proud of everything she achieved.”
Grateful for the care that they saw and experienced as a family, Kimberly and Stewart chose to honour Zoe’s memory by fundraising to support the various hospital paediatric departments who were there for them when they needed them most. To date, they have raised more than $40k to support a wide variety of equipment for multiple hospitals.
When Zoe was at the paediatrics ward at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, Kimberly and Stewart noticed that the walls were quite empty and bare. Since Zoe’s passing, the Schmidts have chosen to generously donate funding to purchase wall decorations and decals for the department’s empty walls.
“We felt that the space was in need of more colour, and we definitely believe that our Zoe Bunny would agree. Zoe Bunny was our little ray of sunshine, and we will always miss her.”
At the NORTH Foundation, we know that each of our patient stories are unique and do not always have a happy ending, so we are especially grateful when people in our community choose to share their story and support our healthcare services. Thank you Kimberley and Stewart Schmidt for your generosity and for allowing us to share the story of beautiful Zoe.
If you would like to support the family’s fundraiser, please click here.