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CHEO to continue to help kids like Zander with new virtual telethon format

Because of COVID-19, the annual telethon will be moving online from May 25 to June 7.
2020-05-29_zander cheo
CHEO patient Zander Zaytylnyand his surgeon Dr. Gyaandeo Maharajh. (Photo/CHEO Foundation)

Ten years ago, when Ottawa mom-to-be (at the time) Chrystal Zatylny went for her ultrasound appointment at 20 weeks, she thought it would be uneventful like all the others before — but it was far from it.

Instead, she found out her son Zander had a major heart malformation, and she admits she was scared. 

“You always go to those appointments thinking everything's OK,” she said. “We just never thought that would happen to us.”

The prognosis, Chystal says, initially wasn’t good. Doctors told her that if she went through with the pregnancy, her child would not be a competitive athlete.

Ten years and “lots of surgeries” at CHEO later and Zander is doing fine. In fact, he's defying doctors and playing sports like baseball and hockey— competitively.

“It was a really great time at CHEO — not because the surgeries — but with the nurses and doctors because they took such great care of me,” Zander said.

And seeing her son do what he loves by playing sports makes Chrystal happy.

“It gives us great pride to see him step on any field,” Chrystal said.

Zander is just one of many children locally and across Canada who benefit from CHEO’s services and their yearly telethon, which will have a different look this year.

Because of physical distancing guidelines and provincial COVID-19 restrictions in place, CHEO has decide to move its telethon online. 

From May 25 to June 7, Ottawans will get to meet six CHEO families on the CHEO Telethon website

This year’s Miracle Match sponsors will be matching donations made online. 

On June 7, there will also be a live broadcast and people wanting to donate can do so by calling 1-866-447-4442 and CHEO employees will be standing by to accept those donations.

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