‘She’s just my little miracle’: Langford student has had two life-saving heart transplants

'She's just my little miracle': Langford student has had two life-saving heart transplants

To see Evanne Fisher now, you’d never know the 19-year-old Langford student’s had not one, but two life-saving heart transplants.

“She’s just my little miracle for sure!” says Evanne’s mom, Tamara Fisher.

Tamara’s first ultrasound had detected major heart defects in her baby, and the options weren’t good.

Evanne’s only chance at survival was a heart transplant.

“They didn’t do transplants at BC Children’s at the time, so we were sent to Toronto,” an emotional Tamara says. “She had zero chance of living unless a heart became available. It was hard to watch her go through that as a baby.”

Doctors didn’t think Evanne would get a heart.

“She was so sick, and the chances of getting a heart were really rare,” Tamara explains.

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But when Evanne was just five weeks old — despite the odds stacked against her — a heart became available.

“Two children, two babies could have passed,” Tamara says. “But how amazing was it that this young family were able to give this gift so one could live.”

The transplant was a huge success, and after several months in Toronto, where the David Foster Foundation paid for their rent and other non-medical expenses, they were able to come back to B.C.

But then, just before Evanne’s 8th birthday, another blow.

“Out of nowhere, she had a heart attack,” Tamara says. “We were at a friend’s house for dinner. They were just going to play a game outside the kids, and she just face-planted on the pavement.”

Once again, a heart transplant was the only option — this time in Edmonton.

“They said she had a four per cent chance of getting a heart because she’s highly sensitized due to having a previous transplant and all the antibodies,” Tamara explains. “But she had like a zero per cent chance for the first heart, so to me, that four per cent chance of like a 400 per cent chance.”

Tamara clung to that hope, the David Foster Foundation again supported them, and in August of 2012, Evanne had her second heart transplant.

“All of this is happening because of organ donation, because you chose to say yes, in a time where yes might not have been a word in your vocabulary, but you said yes,” Tamara says.

More than 4,000 Canadians are waiting for an organ transplant, and around five people die each week waiting.

Canada still has one of the worst organ and tissue donor rates in the world. But Evanne hopes her story will help inspire people to sign up.

“I encourage you to go for it,” Evanne says. “In the end, that you can help so many people, so many lives, and so many families.”

One organ donor can save up to eight lives.

To the two families that saved her life, Evanne has this to say.

“First, I would say thank you know, for everything, or giving me all this, for all the memories that you make, all the achievements I can do,” she says. “And I’m sorry. But so, so thankful for what you’ve done for me.

Evanne has one more year left at UBC, and she’s made it her goal to make a difference in the world.

“I want to give back in any way I can,” she says.

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