Before Zoey Claire Randall was ever born, doctors knew something was wrong with her heart. Although they were not able to diagnose her while still in her mother’s womb, the physicians told Laci and Aaron Randall the devastating news that Zoey’s heart was not functioning the way it should be. When she was born 16 months ago, one month premature, tests revealed Zoey suffered from severe aortic stenosis, an enlarged heart, a heart murmur and an open PDA, which is basically a large hole in heart, her family reports. She was also diagnosed with severe kidney defects, hydronephrosis and ureterocele, which resulted in the scheduling of an upcoming procedure to remove the majority of one of Zoey’s kidneys.
Zoey has had two heart surgeries already and, according to her parents, seems to “spend more time in the hospital or doctor’s office” than she does at home. Zoey’s first surgery occurred merely eight days after her first birthday, a procedure in which doctor’s plugged the hole in her heart with an amplatzer duct occulder and used a balloon to try to open up her narrowing aortic valve. At the time, her heart was twice the normal size it should have been. Something had to be done immediately. Unfortunately, the ballooning failed, and Zoey had to have a second heart surgery on April 11. The Randalls travel to the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston regularly for Zoey’s treatment, and now face the prospect of a third heart surgery and the costs that go along with it. They need help, and you can provide that help.
The “Crawfish for Zoey” fundraising benefit on Saturday, May 17 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Cowboy Church on the Rock at 13803 Highway 90 in Beaumont, near Highway 90 and Meeker Road, is a great way to start helping, says Linda Sterling, Zoey’s grandmother. She said everyone is invited and any donations offered are mightily appreciated due to the massive medical expenses the family endures to get Zoey the treatment she needs.
“She is only sixteen months old and has already had two heart surgeries,” Sterling said of her beloved granddaughter. “She was in ICU the week of Thanksgiving last year. The doctors were hoping to wait until she was a teenager and had stopped growing so much to do any more heart surgeries, but the valve is not staying open. They are going to have to do another heart surgery in the next two to three months. And, in the meantime, they have found a problem with another one of her valves during a scan. She is going to a geneticist in Houston. The funds raised on Saturday will all go toward her medical expenses. She is probably going to have to have a lifetime of surgeries.”
Family friend Carina Kirk said she encourages everyone to attend the May 17 fundraiser. She said Zoey has a fantastic attitude in spite of the circumstances.
“This is such a heartbreaking story, yet this little girl shines & lights up a room as if she hasn’t a care in the world,” Kirk related.
At the Crawfish for Zoey fundraiser, vendors will be selling boiled crawfish for $10 a platter, links for $3 and a variety of beverages and baked goods. Raffle tickets are $5, and that buys you a chance to win a Benelli Nova 12-gauge shotgun with a synthetic stock with three chokes and trigger lock, or an outdoor custom fire pit, 3-feet by 3-feet with black steel Texas star emblems. A live auction will take place at 1 p.m. Items up for bid include a gorgeous wooden rocking chair, an electric guitar signed by members of the band Foreigner, a classical turntable that also plays CDs, MP3s, cassettes and AM/FM radio, an acoustic Seagull S6 cedar guitar signed by Tracy Byrd, an X52 Fishfinder and much, much more. T-shirts will also be available for purchase at the benefit for $15.
Come out to Cowboy Church on the Rock on May 17 to show your support for Zoey and her family. To donate and learn more visit www.heartsforzoey.com  and www.facebook.com/heartsforzoey.