“She’s a normal active three year old girl,” said mom Tanya Lawes about daughter Layna. Layna Lawes is a normal little girl, but she has had some less than ordinary struggles in her first three years of life. Struggles that many families don’t have to face, but struggles that the Lawes family have taken on with a quiet strength that only parents of a child with health issues understand.
When Layna was born, Tanya and Al were notified almost immediately that something wasn’t right with their baby girl. After a few weeks of testing and the beginning of congestive heart failure, Layna was sent to B.C. Children’s Hospital for open heart surgery where top heart specialist Dr. Sanatini attached a patch to her tiny heart between her right and left ventricles. Al and Tanya knew they would have to wait for Layna to recover from her surgery, but what the didn’t expect was the battery of complications that led to two more surgeries and finally the implant of a permanent pacemaker. Layna was diagnosed with tricuspid stenosis which means her tricuspid valve is too small. It is something the family has learned to deal with.
Layna will have a pacemaker for the rest of her life. It will have to be monitored and moved as she grows and batteries will have to be replaced, but parents Tanya and Al are taking it all in stride. “We have to go to Children’s Hospital twice a year , so Layna can get checked out and so far her pacemaker is staying stable,” stated mom Tanya. “Without the pacemaker Layna’s heart would only have 3 beats/minute instead of 100. The heart department at Children’s Hospital is just an incredible place. Layna is well taken care of there and we know she is in good hands.”
The wonderful care Layna has received and will continue to receive at B.C. Children’s Hospital has inspired the Lawes family to give back. For the third year in a row during heart month, Al and Tanya are donating all proceeds collected on Tuesdays for the month of February from their business Bridge St. Car Wash to the heart centre at the hospital. February is Heart Month and the perfect time for everyone to do their part to make the fundraiser a success.
Last year, the Childrens Hospital endorsed fundraiser brought in over $700 which was donated 100 per cent to the heart centre. “Layna is doing well,” said Tanya. “She’s in Can Skate and she’s in pre-school at Little Folks where her favourite game is house. She really likes that game…she likes house a lot and she likes playing outside.”
Every once in a while, Tanya and Al get a reminder that their girl has some extra challenges. “Layna has a cavity and she has to go to Childrens Hospital to get it fixed because of the risk of infection,” Tanya explained. “We can’t 100 per cent fix Layna, but we can give back to those who have helped us. We just want to donate and give the hospital some money. It feels like it is a good thing to do.”
February brings melting snow, mucky roads and a reason to visit Bridge St. Car Wash every Tuesday, February 1, 8, 15 and 22. Everybody has a heart and sometimes they need fixing. The cause is a good one and who can say no to a cute little kid?