Skip to content

Super-shy Savanna walks with heart (8 photos)

Savanna walked to raise awareness about organ donation at the 2017 Transplant Trot on Saturday

Savanna Zayet was born with Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome, a condition that caused her heart to beat at more than twice the normal rate.

When she was two-years-old, her mother Terri Zayet flew to Toronto from Sault Ste. Marie with her for a medical appointment related to the condition.

During that appointment, doctors at Sick Kids Hospital diagnosed Savanna with histiocytoid cardiomyopathy, a condition so rare that she was not allowed to leave the city and her daughter was immediately put on a heart transplant list.

“(Savanna's diagnosis) was a very first for Sick Kids it’s so rare,” said Zayet.

Zayet said having to live in Toronto was tough on her.

Savanna was her first child so, like many new mothers, she was already extremely nervous about anything health or safety related.

Living and going to regular appointments was nerve wracking in the much larger, unfamiliar city.

Her husband worked in the Sault and would make the 700 km journey to Toronto to visit them on weekends.

After a year of waiting in Toronto, Savanna finally received her new heart – they don’t know who the donor was – and they were back in the Sault a few months later.

Now ten-years-old, Savanna is an incredibly active young lady and described as being into outdoor activities, especially four wheeling with relatives out in Goulais River.

“She likes everything. She’s on the go non-stop from the minute she wakes up to the minute she goes to bed,” said Zayet.

The family still travels to Toronto for regular checkups at Sick Kids and every time they visit there they go for Swiss Chalet with a nurse that was part of the team that helped with her transplant.

“She’s become family pretty much,” said Zayet.

On Saturday, Savanna and Terri Zayet, grandma Bev Carscadden and about 15 others took part in the Transplant Trot charity walk at Hiawatha Highlands.

Saturday's event started at the Hiawatha Highlands' Sugar Shack and did a 5km loop through the forested trails there. 

The event raises funds for the Canadian Transplant Association to help spread information and advocate for organ donation across Canada.

“Just signing your driver’s license will not work anymore, you must  register through,” said organizer Erica Hogan, who's story about being an organ donor was written about by SooToday last year (her last name was Tomlinson then but she's gotten married since). 

Hogan said last year’s trot raised over $2,000 and this year’s totals have not been calculated yet.