B.C. preschooler set for rare surgery in U.S.
Published Sunday, October 24, 2010 6:31PM PDT
While other four-year-olds are learning to ride a bike, Surrey preschooler Jakob Temple sits on the sidelines. Jakob's rare affliction makes physical play dangerous. The only cure is in the U.S. -- and will cost his family thousands of dollars in expenses.
Jacob's mother Jen says her boy is full of energy, but she has to keep a close eye on him. There are many things he can't do – including skateboarding, riding a bike or any activity that could cause him to be hit in the stomach.
Jen says the symptoms began last year with frequent bowel movements, nose bleeds and bruising. "Our family doctor found his spleen enlarged. Pediatrician called us in the next day," Jen said.
Jakob has portal vein thrombosis, a break in the main vein to his digestive organs. The potentially life-threatening condition is so rare, Jen has been told her son is one of just 140 children in North America with the congenital defect.
But there may be hope for the family. Jakob is scheduled for surgery in Chicago in January, a procedure that could allow him to lead a more typical life.
The family's Medical Services Plan will cover the cost of Jakob's eight hour operation, but the family will have to pay for airfare and to stay in the city for a month.
They expect the costs to reach between $10,000 and $15,000.
To help them pay for the trip, Jen's best friends have organized Jakob's Night, a silent auction and fundraiser to be held at Jack's Pub (9082 152nd Ave) in Surrey on Nov. 12.
"There's no way in the world she would ever ask for anything," friend Roxann Gallo said. "We decided this is what we're gonna do for her if she likes it or not."
Jen says she's overwhelmed by their support – but her friends say it's the least they can do for her and Jakob.
To attend the auction or donate an item, contact Jacqueline Robertson at 604-910-4681 or by email at Jacqueline.firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson