Local musician Chad Pabiniak is recuperating following heart surgery. GoFundMe page photo

Local musician Chad Pabiniak is recuperating following heart surgery. GoFundMe page photo

Fundraisers help Comox Valley musician recuperating from heart surgery

Chad Pabiniak needed open-heart surgery to deal with rare bacterial infection

Local musician Chad Pabianek was looking forward to a gig in early February at the Avalanche with guitarist Larry Ayre.

Only days before though, the 28-year-old had to be taken to hospital locally where he was diagnosed with a heart infection that had spread into his bloodstream.

“We got results right away,” says his partner, Sarah Cosford.

He was then transported to hospital in Victoria for further tests and had to undergo open-heart surgery to remove an infection and replace a damaged valve on Feb. 12.

“The infection had eaten away at the wall in his valve,” she said.

The infection was caused by rare respiratory bacteria. An infectious disease specialist in Victoria told Cosford he sees only one of these cases a year.

“They don’t know how he got it,” she said.

Pabianek is now recovering, and Cosford says he will be off work for about three months. He works at Edible Island but makes much of his living playing bass for others and some guitar for his solo work.

“He’s very active. He’s playing every single weekend,” she says. “He’s had to cancel a lot of gigs.”

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He also needs to make daily trips to the hospital for four to six weeks for his course of antibiotics.

Cosford decided he needed to go to the hospital when he was sick for a prolonged period.

“It was a fever that lasted for over a week,” she says. “I took him because it lasted too long. It just snowballed from there.”

Pabianek was becoming confused and also developed blood blisters on his fingers, something she understood was a sign of potential trouble.

“That was one of the signs of the infection,” she said.

Cosford has been touched by the level of support already in the community. She had set up a GoFundMe page, Chad’s Healing Heart Fund, to help raise money while he is recovering these next few months.

“We’re very grateful for all the support,” she said. “He’s feeling a lot of love from everyone.”

She credits the medical care he received and says he is an otherwise active, healthy person, which should aid in his recovery.

There will also be a fundraiser for him at the Cumberland Hotel on Thursday, March 5. This will include a silent auction, with cakes from OMG Macarons. KC and the Moonshine Band will start the music at 7 p.m., with Rock Cod and Larry Ayre to follow. The evening will end with some of Pabianek’s friends collaborating onstage for a jam. For more information, see Chad Pabianek’s Healing Heart Fundraiser Event on Facebook.