Christmas present comes early for Greater Trail family

Nearly five months after 16-year-old Kolby had a heart transplant she was back at school in Rossland at the beginning of October.

A Christmas present came early for the Zanier family.

Nearly five months after 16-year-old Kolby had a heart transplant at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton on July 19, she was back at school in Rossland at the beginning of October—at the head of her Grade 11 class at Rossland Secondary School.

It was less than 18 months ago that Kolby was the first pediatric patient in Canada to receive a leading-edge heart pump that helped her heart pump blood through her body.

And it was 12 years ago when she was diagnosed with Alstrom Syndrome, a rare genetic disease that can affect vision, hearing, kidney and liver function, and can also cause heart failure.

But that ordeal is nearly over for Kolby and her family, said her mother Aileen, and the gift of a new life is one they aren’t looking in the mouth. It’s going to be a great Christmas, she said.

“She is the strongest kid I know,” she said. “She took a couple of days off (after surgery) and then went right back to school. She hasn’t stopped since. She’s a really big wow.”

Before Kolby left Edmonton in October after her surgery, she and the rest of her family—Aileen, her father Barry, and sisters Taryn, 25, and Kailyn, 19—participated in the one-kilometre Hope for Little Hearts Walk/Run, a fundraiser for little children with heart problems.

She is healing up after her surgery and is now feeling great, said Aileen, but she has had some complications. Kolby is prone to bleeds, Aileen said, and when she had her artificial heart put in 18 months ago she had two brain bleeds, one of them took her sight completely.

“Her sight was the biggest (complication) of all,” said Aileen. “That won’t return. That was the hardest part of it all for her to come out of.”

With her transplant in July Kolby had two more bleeds that were in her chest, but she was able to get over those.

However, there is some concern over her kidneys. Right now she is “borderline dialysis” and might need a kidney transplant, said Aileen.

“We’re hoping they kick back in because apparently the kidneys are pretty lazy and they need a good boot to start (up). We’re hoping that will work for her,” she said.

The month after Christmas will be crucial, said Aileen. That’s when Kolby will be six months post-operative with the transplant and she will be heading back to Edmonton for a major check up.

That is when doctors will do a biopsy of her heart, said Aileen, to see how the transplant is taking. And if everything is good her heart transplant procedure will be declared a success, she said.

“And if everything continues as well as it has been that is when they will start weaning her off the 30 or so medications she is on,” Aileen said.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Few details released after body discovered in car trunk

Police say they know the owner of the burnt-out Honda found near Genelle with a body in the trunk.

Rossland City Council sets priorities for remainder of term

Rossland City Council met Wednesday to review its strategic plan leading up to the election.

Spike in vehicle thefts from remote parking lots

RCMP investigating half-a-dozen incidents

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Most Read