NSW CHAMPION

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Cara Curan (she/her)

LIVED EXPERIENCE
Disability, Chronic Illness, Paediatrics, Pre-Transplant

KEY INFORMATION

Place of Birth: Paddington, New South Wales, Australia
Current location: Moonee Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Age: 38 years old
Language/s: English only
LGBTQIA+: No
NDIS Participant: No
Diagnoses: Pulmonary Atresia (Congenital Heart Defect), End stage heart failure, endometriosis, Hypothyroidism
Healthcare Access: Primary Health Care, Mental Health, Secondary and Tertiary care. 

BIO

Cara Curan had her first two heart surgeries in the first week of her life, and her parents were told to take her home and that she would not live past the age of 6 with her form of Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) - Pulmonary Atresia. After three more surgeries throughout her life, Cara now has spent over 9 months waiting on the list for heart transplantation, complicated by the high antibodies from the many blood transfusions required to keep her alive. Cara is so much more than her complex heart condition - she beams with life and radiance - she has travelled the world, run summer camps in America, attempted snowboarding, featured in documentaries and podcasts, and shared her story with the Heart Foundation to inspire the 2,400 babies born with CHD in Australia each year and their families. Cara is eagerly awaiting her transplant, and is looking forward to continuing to share her pre- and post-transplant journey with others living similar journeys. She is a firm believer in owning your story despite illness and setbacks, and staying strong in your vision to achieve your dreams. 

With a large scar down the middle of her chest, Cara wants to affirm to others to embrace their scars like she has, as she believes scars can be beautiful, and all bodies can be perfect. She wishes to engage with brands to promote this message.

Cara is dedicated to improving the mental health support for those with chronic illness, especially people who have faced medical challenges from childhood into adulthood. In her experience, the focus has often been on her physical illness, and the mental health impacts have been neglected. She wishes to improve holistic support for everyone accessing the health system so they are empowered to improve their overall wellbeing and live fulfilling lives outside of the hospital setting. Through her experiences, Cara has a wealth of lived experience to share with the health system, her peers with chronic illness, employers and more. She is particularly passionate about travel, and ways that environments can be made more accessible for those with invisible illnesses and dynamic disabilities to live life to the fullest. 

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Completing a traineeship in Business Administration and gained a Certificate III in Business Administration

  • Worked internationally in American summer camps, the first camp only 5 months after fourth open heart surgery

  • Started her own nannying business in Whistler, Canada.

  • Whilst in Canada attempted snowboarding

  • Never letting her condition stop her from doing things she is passionate about and experiencing life to the fullest - this is something huge to be proud of

  • Until recently, always worked full time from the age of 18 years old

  • Sharing her journey publicly to help inspire other families of CHD patients to show despite the heart surgeries and the scariness of having a complex heart condition you can still live a full life.

  • Backpacked South East Asia while in heart failure, only 4 months before having her most recent heart surgery.

  • In recent years, Cara participated in a few campaigns, podcasts & filming to share her experiences of living with a complex heart condition.

LINKS