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Let's all help bring Zoey home

Communities of Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson, along with some in Alberta, have stepped up to help a Sunflower City couple bring their newborn Zoey home. — Submitted photo

While Christmas 2020 is now in the review mirror, a Castlegar couple, with ties to both Nelson and Rossland, are looking for an extra something in their stockings — thoughts of bringing newborn baby Zoey home.

Brett and Kendra (Wayling) Uniat were blessed with the birth of the amazing daughter Zoey on Thanksgiving Day, October 12, 2020.

Zoey, who recently celebrated her three-month birthday, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called “Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome” or CCHS.

When Zoey is sleeping, breathing becomes too shallow, causing oxygen levels to drop and CO2 to build up in the bloodstream.

“This little monkey is doing amazingly,” a Facebook post from Auntie Katie said.

“She is happy and lively and full of smiles.”

“Zoey is so excited to be breastfeeding again after a month off,” the Facebook post added.

“She’s also obsessed with her mobile (toys hanging from a $5,000 surgical light).”

Zoey is the grandbaby of Rand and Christine Wayling of Castlegar.

The couple have strong roots in the Sunflower City — Rand is a realtor and Christine, now retired after teaching many years in Nelson at Trafalgar Middle School.

Christine was raised in Rossland, where her parents of Pete and Helen Bourchier were pillars in the Golden City.

The road ahead for Kendra, Brett and Zoey looks daunting.

However, thanks to the gracious support of Brett’s family and friends in Alberta and all three West Kootenay communities — Castlegar, Rossland and Nelson — that helped exceed the GoFundMe fundraiser by raising more than $51,000, the family is excited as the goal of coming home in the middle of February.

For now, Zoey will continue to be ventilated 24/7 with the goal of having her off the humidifier for two hours at a time — allowing for more mobility.

After returning home, Zoey will need support — particularly at night — and is looking to hire a nurse.

The family would like to send out “Love” and “gratitude” to everyone contributing via the GoFundMe campaign or sending E-transfers.

“Thanks again to everyone for all the love and support we’ve received,” the Facebook post said.

Anyone wanting to continue to support Kendra and Brett bringing Zoey home can still donate at the GoFundMe page to by sending an E-Transfer to: Zoeyuniat@gmail.com.

Brett, Zoey and Kendra are eager to leave the hospital in mid-February to begin a lifelong journey together in Castlegar. — Submitted photo