A connection of the heart with a Crows winger has helped Mykaila through one of the toughest phases of her life.
Mykaila, 15, was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, which causes an increased heartbeat through an extra electrical pathway inside the heart, meaning there isn't a big enough break between beats.
This is the same syndrome Wayne Milera Junior was diagnosed with ahead of the 2015 AFL Draft, where he joined the Crows with Pick No.11.
Thanks to the Adelaide Crows Foundation, the pair met earlier this year ahead of Mykaila’s surgery and Milera shared some of his experiences with the nervous teen.
Mykaila said meeting Milera made a huge impact on her approach to surgery.
“When I was struggling with it, I couldn’t really turn to anyone who could understand what I was going through, but because he had been through it, it was really easy to talk to him about it,” Mykaila said.
“He helped me with my anxiety a lot and it felt really good to communicate with someone who was on the same level with me with this stuff.
“He’s been through a lot and has come through stronger each time and he is an inspiration to me.
“The day before going into surgery, he sent me a video just saying good luck and that really kept me in a good mind set for the next day.
“He told me to trust the doctors and nurses and as I was going through the hospital, I was remembering what he said and saying to myself ‘just trust the doctors, trust the doctors’.
“That is what kept me calm and it helped a lot.”
Mykaila, who has been dealing with symptoms including heart palpitations since she was a child, is now on her slow recovery from surgery and is hoping to return to school for Term Two.
She recently returned to the Club to reconnect with Milera post-surgery and was invited to attend training where she was able to meet some of her other favourite players, including Shane McAdam and Rory Sloane.
“I’ve been part of the Crows family for so long and being able to be here and have the opportunity to see him again means so much,” Mykaila said.
“I love coming here and seeing the players. It just brings back all the support I had from him and that helps with me feel better and my recovery.
“All of the players have been really friendly and wished me luck with my recovery.”
Milera said he was happy that sharing his journey with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome was able to make such a difference for Mykaila.
“I met Mykaila through the Adelaide Crows Foundation last year and we sat down and she mentioned she was going through the same process I went through when I was 17,” Milera said.
“There was a nice connection there because she’s a Crows fan and we also went to the same high school.
“Having Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, she had to have an operation and wanted to connect to ask how the process was, she was a bit nervous about it so it was good to talk to her and reassure her.
“I find it rewarding being able to chat to people like Mykaila, it’s only a small time out of my day but they might talk about it forever.
“It’s an easy thing to do but it makes a difference I hope.”