Returning the favour: helping one of Trail's own

By Contributor
September 16th, 2011

Trail Smokies coach Barry Zanier has dedicated a lot time the B.C. Hockey League franchise.

Now the team wants to return the favour.

The Smoke Eaters have scheduled a fundraiser game Saturday against Thompson Rivers University WolfPack of Kamloops.

Game time is 7 p.m.

All revenues from the contest go to the Kolby Zanier Trust Fund.

Kolby Zanier, the 14-year-old daughter of the Trail assistant coach and wife Aileen, is currently in Edmonton recovering from groundbreaking heart surgery.

“Trail is a small town and everyone gets together like a family,” Smoke Eater president Tom Gawryletz told The Nelson Daily.

“Barry has been with the hockey club for eight consecutive seasons and being part of our family we just want to do what we can to help.”

Kolby Zanier has suffered from Alstrom Syndrome since birth.

Alstrom’s is a rare genetic disease that affects many organs in the body, including sight, hearing, kidney failure and liver impairment.

Most common affect is a decreased heart function that leads to the heart having difficulty pumping blood efficiently to all parts of the body.

During tests in mid-July at Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital it was determined Kolby Zanier would need a transplant and on August 28th she successfully received an LVAD or left ventricular assistive device — also known as HeartWare.

“(Kolby) has been having problems for a number of years,” Gawryletz explained. “The family went to Edmonton in the summer and hasn’t been back.”

In press release, the family said “this device is only temporary until a real heart becomes available for transplant and her long struggle will start all over again.”

Kolby’s parents have since taken a leave of absence from their respective jobs — Barry a teacher in Rossland and Aileen with Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.

The Zanier family also has two other daughters who have been traveling to Edmonton from the West Kootenay, costing the family a considerable amount of money.

The Smokies, like so many others in the community, want to help with those costs.

“The Smokies will donate all gate revenue to the family,” said Gawryletz, adding all seats are only $6 so the club is hoping to fill the Cominco Arena.

“A trust fund (in the name of Kolby Zanier) has been set up at the TD Bank in Trail.”

Gawryletz said two other fundraisers this past weekend in Rossland raised close to $5000.

He said there’s also an auction set for the Flying Steamshovel in Rossland that has been close to sold out.

“This is a small community so everyone knows what’s going on,” Gawryletz said. “We just hope the community comes out and shows its support.”

Trail, 1-3 in exhibition play, travels to Vernon to meet the Vipers Friday at the Wesbild Centre.

The Smoke Eaters open the BCHL regular season Friday, September 23 at home to the Westside Warriors.


Categories: General