After a battery of tests, doctors concluded that the only option for Timmy Faulks was a heart transplant. (Photo submitted)

Local boy needs heart transplant

After a battery of tests, doctors concluded that the only option for Faulks was a heart transplant.

By Patience Palmer

Timmy Faulks is a young 13-year-old boy enrolled in Wildflower school. He is in grade 7 and is excited to transition to grade 8 next year. He has a sister named Sierra and a dog named Rigby. He is very active and intelligent. His favorite hobbies include playing basketball, exploring the outdoors, and getting into mischief; all the things that boys his age love to do. His dog Rigby has been a big part of his life since a puppy, and Faulks enjoys teaching him tricks. He excels in math and science and loves helping out on the family farm. He has many friends in his class, including best friend and classmate, Connor Palmer.

Faulk’s parents, Erin and Jeff Faulks, are known and appreciated by many people in the Creston Valley, including family friend, Becky Coons.

Coons explains, “My daughter has gone to school with Timmy ever since kindergarten, and they’ve become quite good friends. They are both in Wildflower right now, so that’s how I know Timmy’s family; I got to know them better that way.”

On April 11, 2018, Faulks was admitted to the Cranbrook Hospital with a peculiar heart problem. Later that same day, he was airlifted to Vancouver Children’s Hospital, where he is currently staying. While his heart has likely been enlarged for some time, it isn’t growing and has not changed since admission. After a battery of tests, doctors concluded that the only option for Faulks was a heart transplant.

The reason Faulks went into heart failure still remains a mystery to doctors. His mother, Erin Faulks, explains, “The doctors first worked to determine which issues were symptoms and which were causes. It was determined that the root problem was the function of Timmy’s ventricles. He was first given medications to improve the function and rhythm, which have not had the results that would produce a long term solution. The team of doctors will continue to monitor Timmy and work to maximize his function with medications until a new heart is found. So far they do not have an answer for the cause of his function issue. They have run many tests including metabolic, genetic, infectious and nutritional factors. The doctors did note that often they never do determine a reason. Timmy’s best chance at quality of life at this point is a transplant and based on initial screening, he is an ideal candidate.”

On April 17, just 2 weeks after being in the hospital, Faulks was put on the donor list. Because his heart had grown so big, he can now accept a child to young adult heart. At this point, doctors are unable to determine what his future will be. The only thing his family and friends can do is wait.

There has been around $50,000 earned in fundraisers thus far, and there are still more in the works. On April 17, a gofundme page was set up for Faulks by friends of his family with a financial goal of $30,000. Since then, there has been $47,045 raised. His classmates at Wildflower school hosted a hotdog sale and bake sale to help raise money as well. Jimmy’s Pub and Grill is hosting a family spaghetti night on May 26, and Kootenay Crates sold and donated the proceeds for 5 pieces of furniture.

Faulk’s parents are very grateful and touched by all Creston has done. His father, Jeff Faulks, commented, “There has been a phenomenal response from Creston. The amount of love and compassion that pours from this valley can be overwhelming at times. The Creston Valley is a beautiful place, but we have come to realize it’s true beauty is in all the hearts of the people that live here. Thank you so much, Creston for being a small community with such large hearts.”

All across Canada and the US, hundreds of children just like Timmy are being added to the donor list every day. Becoming an organ donor should be an important conversation to have with your parents because by becoming an organ donor, you have the power to save the lives of so many more.

Patience Palmer is a PCSS student and aspiring journalist

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