Seaforth baby inspires fundraising campaign for pulmonary hypertension


Just shy of nine months when he died, Tristan Roman Mero, of Seaforth, is the inspiration of a fundraising campaign by two of his aunts for pulmonary hypertension.

“We’re doing this in his memory,” says his aunt Angelika Sturzenegger, of Gowanstown.

Angelika and her sister Andrea have created a personal page on the Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada webpage, where they have already surpassed their goal of $1,000 during November’s awareness month for the condition.

“We’re really, really happy with support we’re getting so far,” says Angelika.

Tristan, son of Kyle and Erika Mero, was born with a congenital heart defect, requiring surgery six days after he was born to reverse the transposition of his great arteries. While he survived the surgery, he experienced complications and was soon after diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a condition doctors said was very rare for babies who had received the surgery Tristan had.

“We were devastated. We were really hoping that Tristan would recover from his heart surgery and live a normal life. There is no cure for PH; he would struggle his whole life,” says the internet story on his personal page. “Nothing ever came easy for Tristan, the exception being his smile and exceptionally well-natured personality, somehow effortless for him, depite his trials and tribulations.”

Medications supposed to help Tristan’s pulmonary hypertension did not work as they were supposed to and the baby’s condition continued to deteriorate until he needed a lung transplant. But, before he could receive one, he went into cardiac arrest and died.

As a second year nursing student at McMaster University, Angelika says she’s hoping that raising money for the disease that killed her nephew will help to spread awareness about pulmonary hypertension.

Pulmonary hypertension is a rare lung disease in which the arteries of the lungs close off or become scarred, resulting in high blood pressure in the lungs. Early symptoms are unexplained shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet and ankles and fainting and while there is no cure, new therapies are under investigation in clinical trials.

“There are only 5,000 to 10,000 cases of PH in Canada and it’s often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as asthma because it usually shows up as breathlessness,” she says.

She plans to make presentations to her fellow nursing students at McMaster along with local churches about her nephew and his pulmonary hypertension.

Anyone wanting to make a donation can access Tristan’s personal page on the Pulmonary Hypertension webpage at or contact Angelika at 519-362-7381.

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