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

COVID concerns cancel informal Langley car show

RCMP said the gathering exceeded the limits of the provincial health order

Family struggles in aftermath of recent fire at Langley City condo

Overwhelming support from family, friends and complete strangers is helping young family

Highway 1 crash in Langley sends Vancouver man to hospital

Township firefighters extracted a 57-year-old man from his vehicle

More than 200 remain homeless on Langley streets

The latest Metro Vancouver Homeless Count shows we have the third-highest homeless population

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Four activists face charges linked to 2019 Abbotsford hog-farm protest

Mischief and break-and-enter charges laid for incidents on four separate days prior to the protest

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

‘Tiny home’ being built for Abbotsford woman with severe allergies

Online campaign raises $59,000 for custom cargo trailer for Katie Hobson

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

Most Read