Friday, April 02, 2010

Over 400 attend event for young boy waiting for heart transplant

Over 400 attend 'Night for Zachary'
By LAURA WIKSTON , The Chronical Dunnville, Ontario.

Ben and Martha Plath are the grandparents of Zachary Basilio, the young Dunnville boy who is currently awaiting a heart transplant at Toronto s Children s Hospital. Last Saturday night at Dunnville s Royal Canadian Legion, friends of Zachary s parents Anita and Paul Basilio, held an event called, A Night for Zachary. PHOTO BY LAURA WIKSTON

In a tremendous show of support, 400 people packed Dunnville's Royal Canadian Legion last Saturday to take part in "A Night for Zachary."

Zachary is the local little boy who has been awaiting a heart transplant for the past three months at Toronto's Sick Children's Hospital. Friends of Zachary's parents, Anita and Paul Basilio, held the event to help ease the family's burdens.

Zachary, barely a old year, suffers from Barth's Syndrome (BTHS), a rare, serious and sometimes fatal disorder. At three months old, he was diagnosed with a condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy, which is common with BTHS suffers. This condition weakens and enlarges the heart, causing it to pump blood inefficiently. The decreased heart function can affect the lungs, liver and other body systems.

When the Basilios learned Zachary needed a heart transplant, Anita left her job and home, and moved into Ronald McDonald House in Toronto to be close to him.

Zachary has been through more medical procedures in his short life than anyone should ever have to endure. His immune system's susceptibility to bacteria and virus has caused several setbacks. Anita calls her son a fighter, but recently the fight has become even harder for Zachary.

"He's not doing so well, right now," said Zachary's grandfather, Ben Plath. "His heart is failing and it can't maintain his life as it is now. Two days ago, the doctors began discussions about giving him a Berlin heart."

The Berlin heart is a 'ventricular assist device' used in children whose hearts are no longer strong enough to pump enough blood around their bodies. It is used to allow time for them to reach transplant. Plath says Anita and Paul are holding up well, considering the circumstances.

"Anita was able to hold Zachary for the first time in three-and-a-half weeks," Plath said, poignantly.

Paul has taken a leave of absence from his job, and he and Anita have now taken an apartment in Toronto. Plath said his family is very grateful to the community for the show of support for Zachary.

"It's been phenomenal. When it comes to kids, it just seems like everyone wants to help. The support has been amazing."

Plath added, many people have come directly to his business, DM Precision, to drop off donations to help his family through these hard times.

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