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

Lone wolf eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in downtown Victoria for Extinction Rebellion climate protest

The rally is the kickoff to the Global Climate Strike Week of Action

Hundreds of foreign species continue to wash along B.C. coast following Japanese tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Church bells to ring for 11 minutes in support of Global Climate Strike

Each minute to signify years left to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Most Read