Zoey Harris (12) dies

2017-05-03 06:00
Zoey Harris’ dad Hubrey, her sister Caitlynne and mom Vergie. Photo: Werner Hills

Zoey Harris’ dad Hubrey, her sister Caitlynne and mom Vergie. Photo: Werner Hills

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ZOEY Harris was only a year old when she received a liver transplant and stole the hearts of many Port Elizabeth residents who admired this brave little fighter.

Sadly, Zoey of Aspen Heights, passed away on Thursday afternoon at the age of 12 after falling ill a week earlier with what was initially believed to be a cold.

Her parents, Hubrey and Vergie, and her doctors were with her in the Provincial Hospital when she passed away.

Zoey’s funeral service will be held on Saturday, 6 May at 11am at the Bethesda Congregational Church in Satinwood Street, Arcadia.

A memorial service will also be held tomorrow evening (Thursday) at 7pm at the same church.

Zoey suffered from biliary atresia, a life-threatening condition in infants in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not have normal openings. Bile is trapped in the organ which damages the liver.

Port Elizabeth Express reported several times during her life on Zoey, where her first day in Grade 1 were among the highlights for the family.

“We had 12 golden years with Zoey. She was the life of the house, the sparkle in the sparkling wine. She did not stand back for anything. Her illness was not a stumbling block for her,” says her mother, Vergie.

“A doctor of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital heard she had died and phoned. He said he did not expect her to live so long after the transplant.”

Vergie says Zoey complained about a cold about a week before her death.

“I phoned Dr Elmarie Mathews-Walton, who recommended that I give her cold medication.

“After complaining of chest pain, Elmarie said she had to go to hospital where X-rays were taken. Infection of the lungs was diagnosed and she was given medication.”

X-rays were taken again on Wednesday after her cough sounded like she had phlegm in her chest. There was water on her lungs and a decision was made to drain it.

Zoey died at 1:50pm on Thursday.

“While Elmarie prayed, I said a blessing over my child’s life and felt her spirit leaving her body,” said Zoey’s father, Hubrey.

He believes she had prepared herself to meet her Creator because she asked that Rev Fred Mathews pray for her, as well as Mathews-Walton and Dr Johani Vermeulen.

“This is something she has never done. She also kept asking me what time it was.”

Hubrey describes his daughter as a celebrity because everywhere the family went, strangers greeted her by the name.

“She made quite a mark in her short life. She started school at Herbert Hurd Primary School and was in Gr 6 in Cape Recife School. She was only 16 months there, but she acted as if she had been at the school for many years.”

During their vacation in Namibia in December she rode around the sand dunes with a quad bike. Vergie says Zoey’s death made her realise how important family is. “Instead of painting my living room, I’d rather use the money to do something together as a family.”

Her sister, Caitlynne (14), a Gr 9 student at Collegiate Girls’ High School, says everything will be different because she is now an only child.

. The Harris family thanked the Provincial Hospital in Port Elizabeth for its excellent service. “We have been to many private hospitals, but we have never received such service,” says Vergie. The couple said they could never thank the people of the Metro and the Eastern Cape enough for their support.

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