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Operation lifesaver

Wednesday, 10th July, 2013

Sparring partners Angus and Zali. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt Sparring partners Angus and Zali. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt

By By Erica Visser

The city’s sweetheart Zali Dowling has been given a second lease on life and her parents credit it all to the generosity of local residents.

Four-year-old Zali had an operation in April to fix a problem where reflux travels through the bladder and up to her left kidney.

The birth defect had caused Zali’s kidneys to shrink and deteriorate.

Parents Phillip and Tammie put out a call for help in March after Phillip had already cashed in his superannuation to help pay for his daughter’s medical expenses.

The devoted dad was far more optimistic when he visited the BDT yesterday with the outgoing Zali and her big brother Angus.

Zali was recently given the all clear, Phil said, and scans post-operation showed that dangerous “black spots” on her kidneys had now gone away.

“We’d like to say thank you to everyone who helped us because without it she would be hospitalised by now,” he said.

“Without everyone’s generosity she would be on the list for a kidney donor as we speak.”

All up, the city chipped in around $13,000 for Zali, some of which has been put into a trust fund for corrective surgery after she hits puberty.

A major donation came from the Wilcannia Golf Club, where Manager Teri Kalamistrakis donated $5000 out of his own pocket and the club’s board matched it.

Phillip said that the family had seen a huge change in their daughter, who was now able to run and play all day with Angus.

“She has put on weight and got the colour back in her face,” he said.

“Her and her brother are fighting all the time now which is a good indication she’s feeling better.

“She’s just got constant energy and she’s always eating.”

Phil, who was born here, said that the generosity highlighted the tight-knit nature of the Far West.

“Broken Hill is a generous place. When the chips are down here people come out to help.

“We’ve had donations from little kids giving us 20 cents to the larger donations like Teri’s.

“From the bottom of our hearts we’d like to thank everyone because without them she didn’t have a great future.”
Zali, who turns five in October, is looking forward to starting kindergarten at Burke Ward Primary School.
But in the meantime, she would love to visit America and hunt down alligators with Phil.

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