Autumn Carlson of Abbotford, with mom Sabrina, is shown here prior to going into surgery to have a double-lung transplant performed in Toronto.

Double-lung transplant a success for Abbotsford girl, 12

Surgery performed Sunday in Toronto for Autumn Carlson

  • Dec. 17, 2018 1:15 p.m.

By Karen Murphy Corr, Contributor

Christmas has come early for an Abbotsford girl and her family.

Autumn Carlson, 12, who survived childhood leukemia, has received the double lung transplant she desperately needed.

The Abbotsford Middle School student and her mom, Sabrina, have been living at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Toronto for the last month as they waited for a transplant.

They got the call for a potential donor on Saturday afternoon and headed straight to the hospital.

Autumn and her mom then had to wait to find out if the donor was a match, while the health-care team at the Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) completed tests.

They learned early Sunday morning that there was indeed a match, and Autumn was prepped for surgery.

“The surgery, which took several hours, has been a success and Autumn is now recovering in the critical care unit,” Sabrina said.

She said she has mixed emotions that her daughter’s second chance at life comes as the result of another child’s death.

“My heart is so heavy for the sweet young boy who died and his family who have given my daughter and other children here today the gift of life,” she said.

“My heart hurts for his family as they grieve, and I am grieving with them. I hope it is a comfort to them that a part of him will live on in my daughter Autumn. They are my heroes and we can’t possibly express our gratitude for such a gift.”

RELATED: Online fundraiser underway for Abbotsford girl who needs double-lung transplant

RELATED: B.C. breaks record for number of transplant donations

Autumn will stay at Sick Kids for two to four weeks, depending on how her recovery goes.

She and her mother will then reside at RMH for a few months while Autumn undergoes intense physiotherapy.

When they are cleared to return to B.C., Autumn will be followed by BC Children’s Hospital and will return to Toronto for checkups two times a year.

Autumn was diagnosed with “severe lung disease” after developing an infection following a bone marrow transplant six years ago to treat the leukemia with which she had been diagnosed at age four.

The family had been told to be prepared to wait for up to two years for Autumn to receive a transplant, which was particularly hard for Autumn’s sister, who has Down syndrome and doesn’t fully understand the separation from her mom.

A GoFundMe account was started in August to help the family – dad Randy, sister Alyssa, 8, and brothers Nicholas, 17, and Anthony, 22 – with expenses related to the stay in Toronto.

Sabrina said the pair have been missing home.

“There is nothing like Vancouver and the Fraser Valley and being with my husband and Autumn’s siblings,” she said.

Sabrina said she would love to surprise Autumn with photos from B.C., especially the Lower Mainland and Abbotsford, during her long recovery.

She invites people to share photos on Instagram at @autumnsfightforlife or using the hashtag #AutumnsFightForLife.

Autumn’s journey can also be followed on Facebook (search “Autumn’s Fight for Life”), and the online fundraiser can be found by searching “Autumn’s Fight for Life” at gofundme.com.

– with files from Vikki Hopes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Autumn Carlson is shown here with her family – mom Sabrina, dad Randy, sister Alyssa and brothers Nicholas and Anthony.

Just Posted

CONTEST: Centuries old sportswear to be modelled down the runway

Langley Centennial Museum will hold vintage fashion shows on March 15

Naked driver leads Langley, Surrey RCMP on hit and run spree

A Kelowna man has been charged with numerous offences

Traffic blocked westbound on Highway One Tuesday afternoon

A dump truck jack-knifed near 208th Street

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

B.C. landlord can’t serve eviction notice because tenant is in jail

Homeowner baffled at arbitrator decision based on notice of hearing not being served properly

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read