Second chance for Saanich Peninsula family

The Wallace family is happy to be home and healthy this month following a much-needed kidney transplant for their three-year-old son Coen

Coen Wallace

The Wallace family is happy to be home and healthy this month following a much-needed kidney transplant for their three-year-old son Coen.

The Peninsula News Review has been following Coen for two years, through his battle with non-functional kidneys, a condition he was born with. The three-year-old lives with his mother, Tanis, father, Chris and brother Layton, in North Saanich.

When the News Review last spoke to the family, Coen would spend 12 hours, from the evening through the night, hooked up to a dialysis machine the family had in their home.

In the early fall, the family was told the dialysis was no longer working as well as it should have been and that Coen was in urgent need of a transplant.

To make matters more complicated, the best source of a kidney for the young boy was a live kidney donation, a process which can be long and very difficult to navigate.

Fortunately for the family, in November they found out a close family friend was an exact match to the young boy’s blood type and had kidneys which were functioning at an optimal level.

“It took a while for all the work up to be done, but when we found out there was a match it was really a great feeling,” said Tanis, adding that before the transplant the family was spending four days a week in Vancouver at Children’s Hospital for in-hospital dialysis and treatment for Coen.

“Once he had the transplant on February 5, we were at the hospital for 10 days for recovery, then three days a week for blood work and check ups before we were cleared to come home two weeks ago.”

Now that the family is settled in back home, Coen is healthy and thriving and only traveling to Children’s Hospital once a week for monitoring. The reality of Coen’s new, simpler way of life is setting in.

“Because he had the transplant he was able to have his dialysis tubes removed so even things like the fact that he’ll be able to have a bath are really, really exciting for us,” said Tanis.

“It’s also nice for the family as well because before we would always be on the timeline of having to get him hooked up to the dialysis machine by 7 p.m., now we don’t have to worry about that,” added Chris.

Coen, who still has a feeding tube to ensure he gets enough fluids during the day to flush his new kidney, will continue to visit Children’s Hospital once a week until he is given the all clear.

Tanis expects he will be able to attend preschool in September and the family is also planning a vacation.

“That’s something we’ve never, ever done is gone on a family vacation. Coen can’t really go into public for the next six months and he can’t travel out of the country for a year, but after that we’re thinking Disneyworld maybe,” she smiled.

The family said that aside from Coen’s health being good, the family is also extremely thankful to all those who helped them during harder times — especially the donor.

“There’s so many more people to thank as well,” said Tanis.

“It was absolutely amazing to see our community rally around us. It was overwhelming.”