New Castle News


March 11, 2013

Zest of Zoey: Union seventh-grader displays bravery in the face of a kidney transplant



Zoey needs special food and must be on a no-phosphate, no-cholesterol diet.

“I can’t have any of the fun stuff like chocolate and ice cream and peanut butter,” she said.

“She can’t have anything processed and no whole wheat,” Tracy added. “She is able to eat pasta and rice and luckily she likes things like fruit and broccoli, so she eats a lot of that.”

In recent months, Zoey’s creatinine level, which indicates kidney function, has risen to 2.9 (normal range is 0.05 to 1). When the number reaches 4, the transplant will become imperative. Since a donor already is in place, she will not have to undergo dialysis while waiting.

Zoey will be hospitalized for 10 to 14 days following the transplant, with the donor home in three to five days.

By her side in addition to her parents during her ordeal will be big sister, Kayla, who is 14 and an eighth-grader at Union.

“She is my best friend,” Kayla says, reaching for her sister’s hand as Zoey gives a nod of agreement.

Zoey has received homebound instruction since November by Linda Spaulding, who is a teacher at Union.

It is one of the rare times that Zoey and Kayla are separated.

“Until recently when she got a little sicker and started to get home-schooled, we slept in the same bed — we both wanted it that way,” Kayla said.

“They have their own beds,” Tracy said. “They just always chose to sleep in the same bed. They’re that close. Kayla watches over Zoey. I have never seen two sisters who were closer.

“Although I have to say that if it had been Kayla that this had happened to, we would have had a rougher time,” she added. “Kayla faints at the sight of blood, while Zoey counts the vials. In that way, they couldn’t be much more different.”

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