Tearful minister shares son's heart story

February 14, 2018

A tearful Steve Ciobo has shared the story of his son who was born with childhood heart disease.

He's the minister now known worldwide for that Crocodile Dundee ad, but on 'Sweetheart Day' Steve Ciobo is simply Asher's dad.

A tearful trade minister shared the personal fight of his little boy at an announcement of a National Childhood Heart Disease Action Plan on Wednesday.

Roughly eight children each day will be born with congenital heart disorder. Mr Ciobo's now healthy nine-year-old was one of them.

At 20 weeks the family discovered through a scan their firstborn had a heart complication.

"The only reason why our oldest son is alive today is because of the world-class surgeons, pediatric cardiologists and others that saved his life," the minister told reporters in Canberra.

Sweetheart Day, held each year on Valentine's Day, raises money to support those affected by congenital heart disease.

Mr Ciobo said he stands in his office before any HeartKids events and tells himself he won't get emotional this time.

"But I always do."

Health Minister Greg Hunt, who also shed a tear, pledged $150,000 for the action plan, as well as a commitment to make the issue a "national mission" in terms of medical research.

Mr Ciobo thanked his friend and colleague for the announcement, saying it will save lives.

"Ultimately from this we will have healthy and happy young Aussies who can go forward and live the lives they are entitled to," he said.

Four families lose their battle with childhood heart disease every week, with no known cure.

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