Photo: Heather Lazenski
A Peachland family are once again relieved and hopeful after their one-year-old son received a heart transplant after waiting since August.
At just nine days old, James Lazeski was rushed to Kelowna General Hospital when he began to turn gray and his body turned cold.
The family was sent to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for further testing. After a few weeks, his parents, Heather and Steve Lazeski, learned that their son had a genetic condition called left ventricular non-compaction.
Heather and Steve later learned that they both carried a defect in the same gene.
The family spent a lot of time traveling to and from Vancouver for treatment until they were told James would need a heart transplant.
This time last year, the Lazeski family had to be sent to Edmonton to wait for a donor due to a dispute between doctors in British Columbia, which briefly halted the heart transplant program.
Heather says on the plane ride to Edmonton her son James went into cardiac arrest and then back in the ambulance on the way to the hospital from the airport. She says he suffered a total of 48 minutes of chest compressions, which risked causing brain damage due to a lack of oxygen reaching the brain.
Once they arrived at the hospital in Edmonton, James was cleared of any brain damage and was treated for kidney failure and liver damage.
He was then put on LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) until shortly afterwards he was put on a Berlin heart while awaiting a transplant.
After a year of medical complications, James finally received his heart transplant last month, just in time for his first birthday on January 22.
“It really relieved us because we always felt like he was a ticking time bomb and we always knew that (the transplant) was going to be the only solution,” Heather said.
James is home and doing well. He was released on Tuesday and Heather says he is currently on 11 different medications a day and will be on medication for the rest of his life.
James has not slept in the same building as his family since June. “We’re ready to be a family of four again,” says Heather.
The family is excited to return home to Peachland in the coming months, and James will continue to receive care from BC Children’s Hospital.
Heather says this transplant was a light at the end of a tunnel and wants people to know how important being an organ donor is to saving lives.
Anyone who wants to support the family can donate to their GoFundMe.