Gabe's Open Heart Surgery Fund

Meet my cousin Gabe Schwemler. I have watched this young man grow from being an energetic, spiritted child, into the amazing young man that he is today. Unfortunately, like everyone with a GoFundMe page, Gabe has a story. He is 20 years old, and will be going in for his second open heart surgery on March 29th. Gabe was born with Pulmonary Stenosis and 2 holes in his heart. For those of you that don't know, Pulmonary Stenosis is when the valve connecting the heart to the lung is closed off. This resulted in his body creating the holes in his heart as a way allow the blood to circulate, and not over pressurise his heart. Obviously the holes were an incredibly small band-aid trying to cover a massive gun shot wound, and resulted in his first surgery being an angioplasty when he was just 8 days old. As well as two more angioplasties after that. But again, those angioplasties were band-aids that got him by until he was ready for open heart surgery to properly fix the problems. If you can believe it, this came at age 12. At this time they replaced the faulty valve with one from a pig (Yeah, seriously, a pig valve!!!). A ring was then placed inline to assist the valve in openning and allowing enough blood to flow. Now if I remember correctly, this was supposed to last him a good portion of his life...But if that were the case we wouldn't be here right now would we?

When they installed the ring, the doctors had to estimate how big he, and his heart would grow. Again, unfortunately, their estimates were off and he has outgrown the ring that was previously been installed. They now have to perform another open heart surgery to install the correct size ring. Once this is done, if any further work is need they should be able to perform orthoscopic surgery, entering through an artery, and replacing the valve if need be.

As I said above, I have know Gabe his entire life. He has always been an incredibly respectful person, and is to this day. He was a very energetic kid, but would never be able to play for long before he became short of breath and had to take a long break. Through all the surgeries this has not changed for him. He still gets short of breath often, and often gets overly tired (presumably from the lack of blood flow/oxygen transfer). He does his best, but has a very hard time doing the things he enjoys most in life (hunting, fishing, stock car racing, baseball). Despite these difficulties he has worked extremely hard to live a normal life. He and his long time girlfriend (Brianna) have their own place together. He just finished the schooling for his second year Automotive Technician (Passing with flying colors of course).

Knowing Gabe, he will work as long as possible before the surgery. And return to work as soon as possible (Likely a little sooner than that). However the recovery time will be a minimum of 6 weeks. Him and his girlfriend will be travelling to Vancouver multiple times to prepare for surgery (an 8 hour drive from their home town of Quesnel). Staying in hotels, eating out, and all other expenses that go along with that. Being as Gabe is still a young man, and they have been there through all his struggles, I am sure my Aunt and Uncle (Raymond and Tammy) will be making most of those ventures along with him.

My goal is to help raise some funds for Gabe and his family, so they don't have such a financial stress in these times. I know there are way larger stresses they have to worry about in the coming months, so please help me, help them not have to worry about the cost of these travels, and allow them to focus on each other, the surgery, and the healing.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me. If I can't answer your questions I will gladly direct you to Gabe or any of his family members (All amazing people)


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