BC Children’s Hospital was a life-saver for Vancouver Island family

BC Children’s Hospital was a life-saver for Vancouver Island family

Hospital intrumental in ailing son’s care

Cobble Hill’s Wikkerink family owes a lot to the province’s medical system, and the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver in particular.

An ultrasound taken at the Cowichan District Hospital in 2015 discovered that eight-month old Jeremy, who is now five and the oldest of Michelle and Jason Wikkerink’s three children, had a tumour on his side.

He was immediately transferred to BC Children’s Hospital for treatment.

“No parent wants to hear their child has a tumour,” said Michelle.

“We didn’t know what to think. We just had to take it day by day.”

At BC Children’s Hospital, Jeremy had surgery to remove his right kidney along with the tumour, which was a Wilms tumour—– a type of childhood kidney cancer.

RELATED STORY: FATHER-SON DUO AT BC CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL HELPS NEW DADS FIGHT DEPRESSION

Doctors suspected Denys-Drash syndrome, a rare kidney disorder that can lead to kidney failure in young children.

Ninety per cent of children with Denys-Drash syndrome develop a Wilms tumour and after five months of chemotherapy, Jeremy’s diagnosis was confirmed.

A year after his first surgery, Jeremy began receiving dialysis at home at the family’s dairy farm in Cobble Hill to remove waste and extra chemicals from his blood, and he would spend 12 hours each day hooked up to the dialysis machine.

Unfortunately, the Denys-Drash diagnosis meant that his other kidney was at risk of developing a Wilms tumour, and Jeremy needed to be cancer-free in order to have a transplant.

His left kidney was removed in 2017.

Two days after his third birthday in September, 2017, Jeremy received the best present anyone could hope for; a kidney donated by his father, Jason, who was a perfect match for the transplant.

But the surgery was not without complications, and Jeremy developed a clot in the transplanted kidney, requiring an additional surgery immediately after the transplant.

Jeremy spent a full week in intensive care and received dialysis for two weeks until the new kidney began working on its own.

RELATED STORY: ‘HERO’ KID FIGHTING CANCER HELPING WITH BC CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

Today, Jeremy is a happy young and active boy.

He is still part of a two research studies, including one that is looking at biomarkers in urine to test for the possible rejection of his father’s kidney.

But being off dialysis has given him a lot of freedom, and he says he loves being outside with animals on the family farm farm, especially the baby cows.

Sitting in a Cobble Hill park while Jeremy played on the swings, Jason and Michelle said they have every expectation that Jeremy can now live a full and normal life, but it’s likely he will need another kidney transplant at some point in the future.

In the meantime, Jeremy needs to continue to monitor his transplanted kidney and take anti-rejection medications.

He experienced a mild rejection last year that required steroids, and Michelle said Dr. Tom Blydt-Hansen, a member of the pediatric multi-organ transplant program at BC Children’s Hospital, helped to put it into perspective.

“He described it as being like a campfire,” she said.

“If you leave it unattended, it can become a large wild fire but if you extinguish it right away, rejection is easier to control.”

Michelle and Jason said they are grateful to all of the staff at BC Children’s, and especially Dr. Blydt-Hansen, who continues to follow Jeremy’s treatment, and Dr. Kowrosh Afsher who was also instrumental in the case.

“As a parent going through this, you don’t hear everything being said to you,” Michelle said.

“It goes in one ear and out the other. Everyone did such a good job explaining things over and over again until we understood it, and answering our endless questions.”

RELATED STORY: PROVINCE TO PAY FOR LAKE COWICHAN YOUNGSTER’S MEDICAL TREATMENT

The family encourages people to participate in the 2019 Dream Lottery that directly supports the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The money raised from the Dream Lottery goes to funding research that leads to innovative discoveries and treatments to help sick children.

Ticket sales for the 2019 Dream Lottery run until Oct. 11 and there are more than 3,100 prizes this year worth approximately $3.7 million, including luxury homes, vacations, and cars.

People can purchase their tickets online at https://bcchildren.com, by phone at 604-692-2333, or 1-888-887-8771, or in person at London Drugs, Save-On Foods, PriceSmart Food, Urban Fare, and BC Children’s Hospital.

“It’s a great cause and we encourage everyone to take part in the 2019 Dream Lottery to help BC Children’s Hospital,” Jason said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read