Hearts for Zoey Invitational Golf Scramble at Bayou Din

Hearts for Zoey Invitational Golf Scramble at Bayou Din

Zoey Randall, the little “Heart Warrior” featured in The Examiner in May, is still undergoing treatment and testing for her rare heart condition and other medical issues, and her family is still raising funds to assist with high medical expenses. Sept. 8, Bayou Din Golf Club is hosting an invitational golf scramble to raise funds to help pay those expenses.

Zoey is now 18 months old and just started walking, her parents, Laci and Aaron Randall, report. She sometimes has difficulty, though, due to poor blood flow to her heart, a result of her medical conditions. When Zoey was born, she was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis, an enlarged heart, a heart murmur and an open PDA, which is basically a large hole in her heart, according to her family. Her devastated loved ones got even more bad news when she was diagnosed with severe kidney defects, hydronephrosis and ureterocele, which resulted in a kidney surgery at the Texas Children’s Hospital on June 12. She was also recently diagnosed with rare bacteria in her blood, which her grandmother, Linda Sterling, says initially caused a delay in her kidney surgery.

“It took them days to find out what it was,” Sterling related. “They didn’t know what it was and had (a sample) sent off for tests. When the tests came back, they gave her medication orally, and she started vomiting.”

Eventually, once the infection cleared, Zoey’s kidney surgery proceeded, the most recent in a long line of surgical procedures the toddler has had to endure over the short span of her life, and her left kidney was removed.

Zoey’s first heart 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 occluder 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 April 11. Although, according to Zoey’s parents, the doctor was more aggressive, they were told Zoey’s valve is abnormally thick and hard, which prevents it from remaining stretched enough to work properly. The Randalls have no idea when Zoey’s next surgery could be, so now they wait – and hope. Because Zoey is a toddler and a replacement valve would not grow as she will, she cannot have the valve replaced until she is older, and more ballooning surgeries could be in her future.

The Randalls travel to the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston regularly for Zoey’s treatment, and now face the prospect of a lifetime of surgeries for their precious daughter.

“It’s never-ending,” Linda Sterling said. “She is going to have to deal with this for the rest of her life. You just have to make the most of every day because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Thank God she is such a warrior!”

Join Zoey and her family on Monday, Sept. 8, at Bayou Din Golf Club at 8537 LaBelle Road in Beaumont. Registration check-in begins at 11 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon. A shotgun start will sound the beginning of the gold scramble. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 5th, 10th and last places, for men’s longest drive, for women’s longest drive, for closest to the pin and for 8-iron shot The deadline to register is Aug. 27, and registration can be completed online at www.HeartsForZoey.com or www.facebook.com/heartsforzoey, or in-person at Bayou Din. Numerous levels of sponsorship are available, starting at the $100 level. Raffle tickets for a backyard barbecue for 40 people will be sold for $5 at the event. For more information, call event chair Carina Kirk at (409) 553-6151 or event co-chair Linda Sterling at (409) 651-2250.