As a young girl, Kenya McAdams experienced a lot of sore throats.
Despite visits to the local health clinic, Kenya’s bouts of acute rheumatic fever went undiagnosed and she did not receive the antibiotics required to prevent further illness. By age 14, Kenya was in a lot of pain; her joints were aching, her heart was beating fast and she started to cough up blood. Kenya ended up in the emergency department, where she was finally diagnosed with RHD and flown to Adelaide for life-saving open-heart surgery to repair her damaged heart valves.
Kenya now receives a penicillin injection every 28 days to prevent further infections, and she will need this treatment for the foreseeable future. While the injections can be painful, Kenya knows how important they are in ensuring she is not at risk of complications such as heart failure and stroke, and her condition will be carefully monitored during any pregnancies in the future.