Azri Mortimer, 8, inspires Cumberland Nepean Softball Association to raise money for HeartKids

Helping hand: Cumberland Nepean Softball Association will raise money for HeartKids for Azri Mortimer, who needs a heart transplant. Picture: Isabella Lettini
Helping hand: Cumberland Nepean Softball Association will raise money for HeartKids for Azri Mortimer, who needs a heart transplant. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Cumberland Nepean Softball Association will raise money for a cause close to their hearts this week with its annual charity round.

The association will raise money for HeartKids on behalf of young player Azri Mortimer, 8, who needs a heart transplant after doctors discovered she had the rare disease restrictive cardiomyopathy nine months ago. 

In the toughest year of their lives, Khylie Brown and Anna Mortimer have been held up by those around them.

The same-sex parents of Azri are waiting for a life-saving phone call from Melbourne but until then, Khylie said “life stands still”.

“When you go to doctors two to three times a week, it’s having an impact,” Khylie said. “But no one has questioned us at all. Everyone’s been so supportive.”

Azri with her mums Anna and Khylie and brother Zaran. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Azri with her mums Anna and Khylie and brother Zaran. Picture: Isabella Lettini

The charity weekend will raise money for HeartKids, but it will also raise awareness of Azri’s rare disease.

“We just want to get the message out about HeartKids to bring more awareness because eight kids a day are born with a heart defect,” Anna said.

“It may not be as critical as this but it’s still critical and people are unaware of it.”

The parents said it has been tough, especially for Azri, who was an active child.

She has been frustrated, having previously competed in Little Athletics, Blastball, soccer and martial arts.

Khylie said the wait is hard because, if she gets the heart, life can return to normal for Azri.

The community support has been overwhelming for the young family with Azri’s junior club, Eagles Softball Club, hatching the idea for the day. 

“Everyone knows she’s got it but people don’t know what to say,” Anna said.

“There is a Facebook and a GoFundMe page for Azri and when people started putting comments up, I said ‘thank you so much, it feels like we’re not alone’. When people don’t say anything, I felt like we were alone.”

Azri with her friends from the Eagles Softball Club. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Azri with her friends from the Eagles Softball Club. Picture: Isabella Lettini

“We’re just grateful that people haven’t been running away from us,” Khylie added.

Cumberland Nepean has been supporting charities with meaning to the association for the past three years. President Krissi Travers said Azri’s story hits especially close to home.

“Our association is continuing to come together for fantastic causes that are close to home,” she said.

“This year we are touched by Azri’s story and following her journey in the hope that a new heart becomes available for her. Fundraising days like this are important to our association to help create awareness of groups like HeartKids that continue to support families and others in our community.”

The Cumberland Nepean charity day is November 4 at International Peace Park in Seven Hills, where players and supporters are encouraged to wear red and blue.