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2-year-old Mass. stroke victim reunites with firefighters/EMTs

Zayn suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome which puts him at high risk for a stroke

SusanGoetchiusGrandFB.jpg

Susan Goetchius Grand/Facebook

By Caitlin Dee
The Eagle-Tribune

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Local firefighters/EMTs David Testa and Kevin Lundy welcomed a special visitor Thursday.

When Zayn Grand, 2, suffered a stroke as a result of a heart condition, Testa and Lundy were the first responders.

“You really did save his life,” Zayn’s mother, Susan Goetchius, told the firefighters. “I don’t know if he would be here without you.”

Zayn suffers from a condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, causing him to be born without the left side of his heart, Goetchius said, adding that she and her physicians discovered the ailment when she was still pregnant with him.

His condition, along with the fact that he has a PICC line that delivers his nutrition via IV, puts him at high risk for a stroke. In fact, he’s already had three.

When he suffered a stroke at his home in May 2022, Testa and Lundy responded to the emergency.

Zayn, who is now out of the hospital, was able to reunite with Testa and Lundy last week. They presented him with a North Andover firefighter hat and T-shirt, which the smiling 2-year-old — who loves cars and trucks — happily accepted.

For Lundy, the opportunity to be able to reunite with someone he’s helped was a rare but gratifying experience.

“A lot of times, we don’t know what happens, so to be able to have it be full circle makes a big difference,” he said.

Zayn’s mom has set up a Facebook page titled “Zayn’s HHLS Journey” detailing his difficulties, which Testa has been keeping up with since he and Lundy responded last year.

“It’s amazing to see him doing so well,” Testa said. “I follow his Facebook account and I love getting the updates from his mom. It’s awesome to see, I love following his story.”

Zayn has also received support from the entire North Andover Fire Department, which adopted him for their toy drive, as well as from the Kindness Collaborative, which got him a wagon to help make it easier for him to get to and from appointments.

“That was huge for me, I am a single mom, so that was very helpful, and I can’t work because I have Zayn and my two older kids,” Goetchius said.

Above all else, Goetchius is thankful for her son’s presence.

“It’s a miracle that he’s here today, so I’m very grateful,” she said.

In addition to the Facebook page, Zayn has a Go Fund Me where donations can be made to help support his journey of living with HHLS.

(c)2023 The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.)
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