Hope for Jackson

Hello family, friends, and those we have yet to meet,

Many of you have had the honor to have been touched in some way by the story of the Funke family. Whether sharing a laugh with Brianne or being welcomed to chat at Funx Auto with Collin, many of you have been impacted by the friendship of the Funke’s. The Funke clan welcomed their son Jackson into their world on April 2, 2014, and started on what all young families hope will be an adventure of a lifetime. However, shortly after Jackson was born it was discovered that he had Biliary Atresia, a condition that causes his bile ducts to not eliminate bile which then stays in the liver. This condition caused the rapid breakdown of his liver and after a few months, Jackson was admitted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton to await a liver transplant. He received his first transplant on November 24, 2014. This first transplant came with many unexpected challenges, however Jackson is a fighter in every sense of the word and he was discharged from Edmonton shortly after his first birthday in April.  

When Jackson returned to Calgary, however his troubles were not over. Throughout the last 2 and a half years,  Jackson has been admitted to the hospital 12 times with various complications ranging from bacterial infections to internal bleeds. Amazingly enough, despite the multitude of challenges Jackson has faced, he has grown into a radical and spunky little man. Jackson is full of character and charm and daily amazes his parents, loved ones, and medical staff with his brilliance, bravery, resilience, and perseverance. Jackson continues to roll with the punches (and there sure are a lot of them!) and manages to find a smile every day.

Throughout the summer of  2017, Jackson began to face increasingly serious complications with blood clots which affected the blood flow to his liver. The blood clots caused issues with maintaining his blood pressure and resulted in several admissions to the hospital in Calgary to manage these pressures. The building pressure, as a result of the clots, began to create issues with internal bleeding at the site of his very first surgery. The Alberta Children’s Hospital did everything they could for Jackson, but despite their best efforts it was decided that Jackson needed to be taken to Edmonton immediately. On August 4, Jackson was rushed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton where the specialist doctors could manage Jackson’s care and determine what the next steps would be. After many lengthy and intense discussions, It was decided that in order to best care for Jackson, he and his family needed to be in close proximity to the transplant team in Edmonton, due to the complexity of interventions that needed to be in place to keep Jackson stable. Shortly after Jackson’s arrival in Edmonton, it was determined that the best course of action would be a second liver transplant. Jackson had faced chronic rejection with his first transplant and due to a number of complications and variables, it was decided that the best case for Jackson will be a living donor. At this time Jackson and his family are in Edmonton awaiting the news of a viable donor and a surgery date.

In order for Jackson’s family to be in Edmonton to support him, they have had to put their lives on hold. As parents their energy is going solely into the love and care for their child, which means they have had to take on a large financial burden. For the last three and a half years,  Brianne has been unable to work due to the significant efforts in caring for Jackson’s health. Collin, who owns a small family business, has struggled to keep the business going while needing to be away in Edmonton to be with his family. Throughout all of this, the Funke family has shown tremendous courage and fortitude in facing what can only be described as a nightmare situation.

At this point many of you are probably wondering how you can help. Because one of the MOST important things right now is the family being able to be together in Edmonton, without having to constantly be worried about their financial situation, a monetary contribution through the gofundme website is one of the ways you can show your support.

Other ways to show your support are:

Donate blood at your local blood donor clinic. Jackson will require a great deal of blood from the blood bank, and you can send your love to him through this simple act. www.blood.ca
Consider becoming a live donor. To be considered for this, the Living Donor services are looking for the best possible match to Jackson. This will be someone who is blood Type A or O; between 18 & 58 years old; has a BMI of 30 and is smaller in stature (5’10 and under); free of chronic disease or illness and be able to be in Edmonton for the work up procedures. If you feel you meet these criteria, please call Living Donor Services at 1-866-253-6833.
While we appreciate so much your generous efforts to be a donor, to avoid an influx of calls please do consider the criteria before you make the call.  

Finally, if you are local to Calgary there is a fundraising event being held on September 28 at Pulcinella’s (1147 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary, AB) from 5-12pm. Those who have donated and those who are wanting to donate in person are welcome to come for pizza, appetizers, beer and cocktails.    

I would like to end with attempting to express the deepest gratitude to those of you who have been supporting Team Funke over the last three years. Without your continuous love, encouragement and support, facing this situation would have been all the more worse. There are no words great enough to say the Thank You that is needed. The truth in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is so evident here. Thank YOU for being a part of the village that is caring for Jackson, Brianne and Collin.

With love and infinite gratitude,

Auntie Gurrgle
  • Taira Anten 
    • $200 
    • 25 mos
  • Arlene Orchard 
    • $200 
    • 25 mos
  • Terri Macleod  
    • $300 
    • 26 mos
  • Kim Zaleschuk 
    • $50 
    • 27 mos
  • Chad Widmer  
    • $100 
    • 30 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Kim Gurr 
Calgary, AB
Brianne Funke 
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