Karters Journey

$7,700 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 84 people in 45 months
Bee Bee Guns  Kamloops, BC

Karter's Fanpage <----- Facebook page

With his big, soulful eyes
and handsome smile, it's no surprise baby Karter Thistlethwaite has the nurses of B.C. Children's Hospital wrapped around his tiny little finger.

"He's a big flirt," said mom Brandee Brown with a laugh. "He's quite the little ham. He knows how to work the people around here, that's for sure."

Between his belly laughs, it's hard to believe the eight-month-old has spent every moment of his life just fighting to survive. Karter's heart, although capable of giving lots of love to all those around him, is sick.

While in the womb, he developed heart block, a problem with the heart's electrical system. The disease causes a slowing of the signal to the lower chambers that cause the heart muscle to contract.

Brown was given the news after her 20-week ultrasound, when a gut feeling plagued her that something wasn't right. The next day, doctors gave her and husband Erik Thistlethwaite the devastating diagnosis.

After having their now four-year-old daughter Makiya, Brown had two miscarriages, the first of which happened just four days before Christmas, and the couple were determined to save this baby's life.

Realizing Karter would need open-heart surgery soon after being born, doctors recommended that the couple, who live in Kamloops, travel to B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver for the delivery.

In October, eight days after his birth, the fragile newborn had his first surgery to place a pacemaker. After recovering, Karter was doing better and his relieved parents took him home. But after tests at his six-month checkup, their worst fears were realized: Karter was in heart failure.

"They were basically saying that he's lucky to be alive," said Brown as she fought back tears.

Karter was quickly rushed into emergency surgery, where he received a different pacemaker. The procedure seemed to work at first, but after a few days in intensive care, Karter began to deteriorate again.

His only chance of survival, doctors said, would be a new heart.
"If this doesn't work, there's no other option for him," Brown whispered, wiping away a stray tear.

Brown said her son is the only infant waiting for a heart in B.C. When a new heart becomes available, Karter will likely undergo the procedure at Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, Alta., the only referral centre in Western Canada for pediatric heart transplants.

It is difficult to predict how long Karter will wait. In 2011, the median wait time for patients seeking heart transplants was about a month, while in 2010, it was almost four months, according to B.C. Transplant.

However, the statistics paint a scary picture. According to the Canadian Institute of Heath Information, two B.C. children in need of new hearts either withdrew or died while on the waiting list in 2012. The possible deaths are a painful reminder of the chronic shortage of available organs for those in desperate need.
Although Brown desperately wants to see Karter get a new heart, knowing that with it another family will face the heart-wrenching loss of their child is too much to bear, she said.
"It kills me to know what another family has to go through in order for us to keep him," she said.

While the family anxiously wait, Brown said her husband, who works in construction, is putting in extra hours to try to keep up with mortgage payments on their Kamloops home.

Although friends have hosted fundraisers, Brown fears they may lose their house and won't have a place to take Karter home.
For now, Brown said they are taking each day as it comes. Although every moment is terrifying, Brown said her son's cheerfulness always humbles her.

"The days that I decide to break down, I just look him and he's smiling and laughing, and it's like, what am I getting so upset about?" said Brown. "I've learned so much from such a little person."

If you would like to Donate to Karter and his family, please do so by clicking the "donate" button. Donations are collected through paypal accounts for security reasons.

Thank you!

Ps. There is an extreme shortage on organ donors and blood donors. Do your part. Save someone and become a donor today! What's the risk!? You have blood in you to give, and organs to gift! Visit your nearest blood bank, and or click the links below to become an organ donor. You may just save someone's life... Would you think twice if it was you, a friend or a family member that needed it!?


Take a read, click below for a few myths and facts...

Find your donor site, click below :o)

Karter's story in The Province Newspaper

+ Read More
Update 34
Posted by Brandee Brown
30 months ago
It's been a while since I have updated. I wish I could better link Karters FB page to this site. As I am much better at keeping his page up to date. We just celebrated lil mans 2nd birthday and it was a total success! He managed to have a couple nibbles of his cake, and nothing could have made me happier! We still haven't quite gotten back to 22lbs but I am working on it! Eating will always be a WIP, and we will get there too! All in all, Karter has been doing relatively well, just hanging in there every month waiting for clinic day to make sure he is hangin in there too! Other than what we know and his few tell take signs, you wouldn't know he was such a sick lil dude!! Here's a pic from his Big Two Birthday!
+ Read More
Update 33
Posted by Brandee Brown
32 months ago
Been a while since I have updated our gofundme page, as I have been sick with one heck of a sick lil man! Thankfully it looks as though everything is finally on it's way out, and I'm really hoping we are on the up n up with weight gain and even more oral intake! Fingers crossed he stays virus free for a while, he's been hit so hard the last couple mis and he deserves a break!!
+ Read More
Update 31
Posted by Brandee Brown
34 months ago
Karter and mama will be admitted Sunday AM... We are all hoping that by pulling Karters NG and letting him build up his hunger makes him want to eat.
Mak and Daddy will head back to the Loops again on Monday morning. :o(
Pls send (as always) all the positive "oral eating" vibes u can for this lil monkey. Really hoping this works...
We had our consult with GI at noon, and placement looks near impossible for our lil man, as he does not have a whole lot of space to place one. -Of course. This trial Ng pull is our only hope!! Keep our fingers crossed Team K!! Much love!
+ Read More
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$7,700 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 84 people in 45 months
Created June 28, 2013
Rob and Jackie Young
7 months ago

Every little bit helps so this is our part in the big picture of Karter's recovery. Sending prayers.

Amy Eriksen
24 months ago

love you all so much xoxox

Joanne Greco
35 months ago

Gob bless

Molotov and Bricks and Yukon friends
37 months ago
Sophie Macé
38 months ago
Susan Hardiman
38 months ago

To Brandee and Erik We are thinking of you and your family. From: Brad, Sue, Cole and Liam

Jennifer Mervyn
38 months ago

Praying for you!

Aries Raine
38 months ago

My daughter who is 5 was sitting on my lap, as I read your story she asked why I looked upset. So I read her your story, and she grabbed her piggy bank and counted out her money. $5.00 she said, and put it in my had and said its for the baby. I know it isn't much, but this little girl thought your son was so cute and felt it was the right thing to do.

jess & shell because i can project
38 months ago

thinking of you, karter, and praying for your precious heart. xoxo. jess & shell

Amy Eriksen
39 months ago

i will do all possible to help in the new year. Much love to you all.

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